Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Climate change: another subsidy for a polluter

How would you feel if a multinational company came to town, made a mess, and left us with an $18 million bill?

That's what will effectively be happening when Methanex restarts its Motunui methanol plant next year. The plant will produce around 700 kTCO2 a year, at a cost to the taxpayer of around $18 million. We will be paying that cost because Methanex will restart that plant, then shut it down again before industrial emissions are brought into the ETS in 2010. They'll be in and out like lightning, leaving us to pay for their mess.

This is simply unacceptable. I take it as axiomatic that companies should pay the full cost of their activities, rather than being allowed to externalise them and dump them on the rest of society. But thanks to the government's systematic inaction on climate change and its refusal to use the RMA as a backup policy, that is exactly what will happen. And Methanex will be laughing all the way to the bank at our expense.