Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Climate Change: Grovelling harder

Back in October, Labour grovelled to the sacred cow, accepting a nightmarishly complicated system to pretend to price farm emissions while really shovelling money at farmers for bullshit "offsets". Today they've doubled down on that shit decision, committing to insulating farmers from the ETS carbon price and instead subsidising them so they pay the "lowest price possible":

The Government is promising farmers that it will charge agricultural emissions at the “lowest price possible”, and won’t regularly alter the prices – to give farmers more certainty.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the commitment on Wednesday, confirming the Government plan to price agricultural emissions was on track to start in 2025.

This means two things: firstly, the scheme will be even less effective at reducing emissions, as farmers will face a lower incentive to cut. And secondly, you and I are going to pay for it. Because every extra ton of carbon farmers emit thanks to low prices will have to be paid for in 2030, so low prices for them means higher taxes for us.

To put a number on that, in 2020 agriculture emitted 39.425 million tons of CO2-equivalent. The difference between the default option of putting agriculture in the ETS at the processor level and this bullshit low carbon levy was a 16% reduction vs a 10% reduction. So, the government has committed to emitting an extra 2.4 million tons a year. At their expected 2030 international carbon price they'll need to pay to cover this extra pollution of $150 / ton (which is almost certainly too low), that's $355 million going straight overseas. And that's without even considering the overall subsidy from free allocation - which will amount to $4.8 billion a year in 2030. If you want to know where your schools and hospitals and public transport systems are - all that stuff Grant says the government can't pay for - they're in a paddock, polluting the atmosphere and shitting in a river.

Which just shows that if we want nice things (and not just clean rivers), we need herd-reduction, now. Anything less is ripping off the rest of Aotearoa for the benefit of this tiny, entitled, ute-driving minority. But we clearly won't get that from Labour. If we want progress, we need a radical, anti-climate change government.