Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Climate Change: End pollution subsidies now!

Stuff reports that Tasman Steel - the latest name for what used to be NZ Steel - made a $340 million profit last year. The kicker? $117 million of that was from government pollution subsidies:

New Zealand Steel’s holding company Tasman Steel increased its profit by 153% to a bumper $340 million in the year to June while receiving free carbon credits worth $117m from the Government, according to accounts filed with the Companies Office.

The Government provides carbon credits to other large industrial emitters that compete with overseas firms and the steel business’ chief executive, Robin Davies, said they essentially “neutralised” carbon costs that were passed through to the company in its electricity bills.

...which means they face no real incentive to reduce their emissions.

As the article notes, the "justification" for this subsidy is that Tasman - one of our biggest polluters - might shut down and be replaced by dirtier production overseas. The latter is simply false - Glenbrook is one of the dirtiest steel mills on the planet, producing 2.5 tons of carbon per ton of steel versus the global average of 2 tons. So shutting it down would almost certainly result in a net gain for the planet. But also, does anyone really think they'd pull the plug if they were making only $220 million a year rather than $340 million? If they merely made the same outrageous profit they made last year? Really?

These pollution subsidies are unjustifiable. They must be ended immediately. And if this causes big polluters like Glenbrook to shut down and fuck off, so much the better.