Thursday, October 07, 2021

Climate Change: More dishonesty over the CCR

Last month the Emissions Trading Scheme turned into a farce, when the government flooded the market with credits in a failed and wasteful attempt to Keep Carbon Prices Low. When I asked about the background of this policy Climate Change Minister James Shaw sent me one of the most egregious "fuck you" responses to an OIA request I have ever seen:

I am withholding the remaining eight documents including the titles under section 18(d) of the Act because the information is or will soon be publicly available.
Another OIA later, and the titles have finally been released, and you can read the documents themselves here. So what didn't Shaw want me to see? Probably the advice in this paper that, having given assurances that any release of credits from the cost-containment reserve would be backed by emissions reductions elsewhere, actually the government doesn't think it needs to do that after all:


This is strictly, legally true. It is also exactly the sort of self-serving, "within the rules" bullshit that brings politicians into disrepute, undermines the credibility of our climate change policy, and which Shaw was supposed to put an end to in this area. Its especially dishonest and self-serving because the reason we don't have an emissions budget for 2021 is because the government legislated that there wouldn't be one. Meanwhile, the 7 million tons of pollution they have just allowed are real, and will be emitted at some stage over the lifetime of the ETS. So if the government wants the system to have any credibility, it needs to back them, ideally by ripping the full 7 million tons straight out of the 2022 and 2023 budgets. And if they can't do that by regulation, they should do it by legislation, at the same time as they abolish their failed price cap policy entirely.