Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Climate change: corporate welfare

The government's proposed ETS currently includes generous provisions for easing its impact on large polluters, allocating up to 90% of 2005 emissions plus 90% of the increase in the cost of electricity to emitters deemed "trade exposed". How much will this cost us? According to the Sustainability Council, it comes out to $1.4 billion, not including the farming sector.

"New Zealand" Aluminium Smelters (owned by the US mining giant Rio Tinto), whose own figures show their Tiwai Point Aluminium smelter is a net drain on the country once the cost of emissions is accounted for, will get $600 million. "New Zealand" Steel (which is in fact owned by the British / South African / Australian conglomerate BHP) will get $100 million. The "New Zealand" Refining Company (owned by a conglomerate of foreign oil firms) will get $70 million. Four major pulp and paper manufacturers (three of which are foreign owned) will get $400 million. Finally, Fonterra, New Zealand's worst polluter, will get $200 million.

This is nothing but corporate welfare, robbing from the poor to pay the rich. That $1.4 billion will come directly out of the pockets of ordinary taxpayers, and flow directly into the pockets of these mostly foreign companies mostly foreign shareholders. And while we're bearing the cost, they'll be laughing all the way to the bank. And this, under a Labour government...