Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Climate Change: Say no to carbon cheats

The Environment Committee is currently hearing submissions on the Zero Carbon Bill, and Stuff is reporting on the submissions. Today, they're covering yesterday they heard from "NZ" Steel:

NZ Steel has told MPs it may be forced to close with the loss of thousands of jobs if changes aren't made to the Climate Change Response Bill which is being considered by Parliament.


But NZ Steel said in a submission to Parliament's Environment select committee that by failing to adequately recognise the issue of "competitiveness", the legislation could kill the industry.

"There is a very real prospect ... we may set up policy decisions that could result in the closure of steel-making in New Zealand," it warned.

They want the committee to remove restrictions on foreign carbon credits, allowing them to meet their carbon costs from international markets. Of course they do. Because before the government outlawed the use of such credits, "NZ" Steel (actually foreign owned by Aussie polluters Bluescope) were one of the biggest carbon cheats in the country. The scam was simple: the government gave them hundreds of thousands of tons of valuable NZ units as a pollution subsidy, but instead of using them, they banked or sold them, paying instead in fraudulent Ukranian "credits" which had no environmental benefit whatsoever. And they scammed us for millions by doing so: NZ units traded for $4.20 at the time ($25 now), while Ukranian credits cost a tenth of that. If they banked those credits for use now - effectively paying off all their previous obligations with fraud - then they're sitting on tens of millions of dollars of fraudulent profits.

Naturally, they want to start this scam again. We should refuse. Instead, we should be cutting their pollution subsidy - currently 1.4 million tons a year - and demanding they stand on their own feet. And if they close, good riddance - they emit 2.5 tons of CO2 per ton of steel, against an international benchmark of 2 tons CO2 per ton of steel, so shutting them down is a net environmental gain.