Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Climate Change: Subsidising pollution forever

The government has announced more decisions about the ETS, specifically about the phase-down of free allocation. Industrial emitters have been receiving free credits for a decade now, originally tied to 2005 emissions levels, then linked by National to current production (turning it into a direct pollution subsidy). If we are to meet our 2050 target, this free allocation needs to end, and quickly. Instead, the government plans to continue it forever:

“We’ve consulted with stakeholders and are now providing them with the clarity and direction they’ve been asking for – a gradual and steady path of change with time for businesses and communities to adjust,” James Shaw said.

The plan is to begin phasing down industrial allocation at 1 per cent per year from 2021-2030, then at 2 per cent from 2030-2041, and at 3 per cent per year from 2041-2050.

And when you do the maths, it means the government will still be subsidising highly intensive industrial polluters by 20% of their emissions in 2050, the year we're supposed to be at net-zero emissions.

This is bullshit, simply bullshit. And it is bullshit neither the country nor the planet can afford.

But as with their bullshit lowball targets, I can't see this lasting either. As things get worse, pressure is going to build for tougher targets and for polluters to pay their own way. Any polluter who relies on this lasting deserves to go bankrupt.