Monday, May 19, 2008

Climate change: National on emissions trading

National's decision not to support the ETS isn't just a disaster for New Zealand; it is also an about-face of Orwellian proportions. For the past two years - ever since Nick Smith convinced Don Brash that the path to government lay in seducing enough Green votes to drive the Greens out of Parliament - National has been urgently demanding an ETS and claiming credit for the idea. Don't remember? Here's a few highlights:

A Bluegreen Vision for New Zealand, National Party environment discussion document, 5 October 2006:

A tradable emissions permit system offers New Zealand the best way forward.
Nick Smith, "National backs call for emissions trading", 13 April 2007:
Emissions trading is the right way to address climate change
John Key, "50 by 50: New Zealand's Climate Change Target", 13 May 2007
We will introduce a comprehensive 'cap and trade' emission permit system to manage greenhouse gas emissions. This system will encourage cost-effective emission reduction across the economy.
Bill English, "Emissions regime proposals look sound", 20 September 2007:
The general approach looks sound and is broadly consistent with the approach National has been advocating over the last year since the release of the Bluegreens environment discussion document.

National advocated a tradeable emissions permit system

Nick Smith, Question to the Minister of Conservation, 7 November 2007:
[I]s this policy not just another example of Labour “me too-ism” alongside Labour’s new policy on tax, Labour’s policy on charitable donations, Labour’s policy on an emissions trading system...
Nick Smith, first reading of the Climate Change (Emissions Trading and Renewable Preference) Bill, 11 December 2007:
[W]e believe that an emissions trading system is the sensible approach for New Zealand to take in response to the huge challenge of climate change. In fact, back in 1999 the National Government did a large amount of policy work on this subject and it concluded that an emissions trading system was the right way forward.
Gerry Brownlee, first reading of the Climate Change (Emissions Trading and Renewable Preference) Bill, 11 December 2007:
[T]he Government is only now, after 8 years, getting to where National was back in 1999.
David Carter, first reading of the Climate Change (Emissions Trading and Renewable Preference) Bill, 11 December 2007:
[I]t is not an option to do nothing. New Zealand ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 2002. There was significant debate around that decision of Helen Clark to ratify at that time. I remember National arguing very strongly that we did not need to be ahead of our major trading partners. But that debate is a past debate. New Zealand has ratified Kyoto. We have significant international commitments to meet; therefore we have to get on with it.
John Key, 18 May 2008:
National will not support the bill going to a second reading
So much for National's environmental credibility. Not that they ever really had much, but they've now proven solidly that they simply cannot be trusted, and that all they are interested in is greenwash.