25 November 2009

ETS amendments bill "won't help environment", says Environment Commissioner

"I urge Members of Parliament not to undermine our existing ETS, by passing the amendments bill" said Dr Wright, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment today. "In its current form, the bill virtually guarantees that the ETS will not achieve its stated goal of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. I cannot support the bill being passed as it is currently."

The ETS works by putting a price on carbon emitted, thereby encouraging a move to a low carbon economy. Unfortunately, the amendments reduce the ETS's effectiveness by almost removing the price signal for some.

"The amendments pass much of the cost from polluters to taxpayers. And without giving some sectors the incentive to invest in low carbon-intensive technologies, emissions will continue to rise," Dr Wright cautioned.

"When the bill was at the select committee stage, I made a number of recommendations intended to prevent weakening the ETS - to help us achieve the goal of reducing New Zealand's net emissions below business-as-usual levels. In particular, we need to limit the number of free credits given to our worst emitters.â€

The Commissioner's full submission to the Finance and Expenditure Committee and list of recommendations can be found here.

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