Monday, August 04, 2014

Climate change: A picture of a rort

Today the government released its statutorily required annual report on the ETS, showing that polluters reported emitting 97,131,843.1 tonnes of CO2-equivalent in 2013. The problem? The corrected figure for last year is 88,288,617.6 tonnes. So, according to the ETS, we increased our emissions by 10% in a single year. So much for the government's claim that emissions are dropping.

Of course, that assumes that we can trust the figures. But I'm not sure that we can. Last year's reported emissions were corrected from 108.8 million tonnes down to 88 due to "amendments to emissions returns or the late submission of emissions returns" - a difference of almost 25%. With that much variation, its hard to tell what our emissions are actually doing. And it really makes you wonder about the degree of over reporting that is occurring in an effort to claim pollution subsidies.

The other bad news: of the 45.5 million units surrendered by polluters, less than 0.5% were New Zealand units. Instead, polluters are getting NZUs as pollution subsidies, and then either flicking them off offshore, or sitting on them hoping they accrete in value, while "paying" for their pollution with Russian hot air. This doesn't do anything to actually reduce emissions, but it does allow the finance shysters to book a profit from arbitrage. The government has since closed this loophole, banning dodgy foreign credits; sadly they won't be moving to recover the windfall profits polluters have made from this fraud, or cancel the overhang of banked NZUs which will allow them to keep profiting in the future.