Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Climate change: Ignoring the elephant in the room

Minister for Climate Change Paula Bennett is celebrating polluters being on the way to paying their full costs:

Emitters are now on their way to paying the full cost of their carbon emissions in New Zealand, says Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett.

“As part of our ongoing work programme to reduce domestic emissions we have started the three-year phase out of the one-for-two emissions trading scheme subsidy,” says Mrs Bennett.

“This subsidy allowed some businesses to pay one emissions unit for every two tonnes of pollution they emit. Last year the Government announced we are phasing the measure out over three years to give businesses time to plan and adjust.”

Which is better than nothing, as far as National's weak climate change policy goes. But it ignores the elephant in the room: that not all polluters are covered. In particular, farmers, our largest source of climate pollution, are completely exempted. Which means that their pollution is effectively subsidised by the rest of us, to the tune of over $700 million a year (39.6 MT x a current carbon price of $18).

When polluting farmers start paying their way, then the Minister can start talking about polluters paying their full costs.