Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Kickstarting biofuels"

The government has announced an industry grant program with the aim of kickstarting biodiesel production in New Zealand. Of course, we already had a perfectly good means of kickstarting biodiesel production - and more importantly, getting the oil industry to upgrade its infrastructure to cope with an additional fuel blend - in the form of the biofuels sales obligation. But one of the first things National did on gaining power was repeal it. So instead of a clear, transparent market-based mechanism which set targets for the industry as a whole, but didn't favour any particular players, we now have straight-out industry pork propping up specific companies. It certainly shows the lie behind National's "more market" rhetoric...

This is not the policy of a party interested in promoting the widespread adoption of biofuels. It is instead the policy of a party wanting to use them solely as greenwash. The result will be that we are slow to adopt, meaning in turn both higher greenhouse gas emissions, and greater vulnerability to potential disruptions in fossil fuel supply. It is simply bad, shortsighted policy.