Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Climate Change: Forfeiting the profits of fraud

Since 2008, the New Zealand government has pursued a climate change policy based on fraud, using dodgy or outright fraudulent Russian and Ukranian "credits" to "offset" our ever increasing domestic emissions. And we've banked the "surplus" from that fraud, and are still using it to "offset" our (still increasing) emissions until 2020. But at COP24 in Katowice, Climate Change Minister James Shaw has apparently ruled out using these credits in future:

New Zealand's Climate Change Minister James Shaw has ruled out his nation using carryover credits to count against its Paris climate target, saying such a move would make it challenging for the world to meet the important goal of reducing emissions.

Mr Shaw made the comments to Australasian journalists in a conference call on Tuesday after meeting his Australian counterpart Melissa Price during the climate talks in Katowice, Poland.


Mr Shaw declined to detail his talks with Ms Price. He said, however, it was his government's view no nation should resort to a prior period "surplus" to count against Paris goals. New Zealand would not do so "if we have any units left over".

"Paris is a completely new legal construct," Mr Shaw said, adding it was "never intended" for Kyoto credits to be carried over.

"We would discourage any country from using [them]," he said.

Which sounds good. But the devil is in the details. Shaw could be ruling out using our fraudulent "surplus" entirely, or he could simply be ruling out using it to meet Paris commitments. The former would be good, the latter would effectively be continuing the scam and continuing to profit from it until Paris kicks in. On current projections, we're expecting to use more than 30 million tons of CP1 "credit" to meet our (self-imposed) CP2 obligations - almost half a year's emissions. OTOH, at the least Shaw is committing to erasing ~90 million tons of fake credits, and that is significant. If we are to meet our Paris target, we're actually going to have to reduce emissions, rather than rely on the profits of fraud.