Friday, February 07, 2020

Climate Change: Sound public policy reasons for transparency

One of the good things about the government's ETS bill is an increase in the transparency of the ETS. While the auction monitor will be bound by an odious secrecy clause, the EPA will be required by statute to publish the emissions returns of major emitters. Of course, some polluters aren't happy with this:

While some large companies like Z Energy, Countdown, and Air New Zealand support the data being released, many companies and their industry associations do not, fearing the reason for publication is "naming and shaming".

"We do not consider there are sound public policy reasons for publishing individual emissions data reported by NZ ETS participants," the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand said.

The Government was already getting the data it needed to ensure the ETS functioned efficiently, it said.

"The desire to publicise details about individual entities therefore seems gratuitous and appears to be driven by a desire to 'name and shame' emitters," it said.

But is it? Publishing this data will establish public pressure on polluters to reduce their emissions, and give them incentives to do so in the form of avoiding negative PR. Plus it will make it crystal clear to the public who the major climate criminals are, and in what areas policy is effective or ineffective. And that seems like a sound public policy reason to me.