Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Climate change: Pointless

Some apparent good news on climate change policy: National has decided to ban some dubious types of carbon credit from the ETS:

“The Government has considered whether Emission Reduction Units (ERUs) from HFC-23 and N2O destruction projects, and Certified Emission Reduction Units (CERs) and ERUs from large-scale hydroelectricity projects should be ineligible in the ETS. There are legitimate questions about these types of international units and the Government wants to maintain the integrity of the ETS,” Mr Groser says.

The proposal is that we exclude the use of these particular units either from 1 January 2013 or 1 June 2013. The European Union is proposing to ban these units from 2013 and Australia is also proposing a prohibition when their emission trading scheme comes into effect in 2015.

This would normally be a good move - both types of unit are highly dubious, HFC-23 because people are manufacturing pollutants to claim the credits, and large hydro projects because they're not additional emissions reductions (i.e. they would have happened anyway,and in most cases were already complete when the claim for credit was made). But National's other changes to the ETS, which have basically transformed it into a Pollution Subsidy Scheme, render it pointless. We now have a scheme so riven with subsidies and exclusions that it might as well not exist. Changing what sorts of units you can buy to meet your non-existent "obligations" is simply rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic.