11 September 2012
ETS changes a farce – Environment Commissioner
Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Dr Jan Wright says planned changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme will be a costly and environmentally damaging mistake.
The changes are part of the ETS amendment Bill currently before select committee. Dr Wright has submitted on the Bill this afternoon.
Dr Wright says she is particularly concerned with subsidies to polluters being locked in.
"Right now we're subsidising ninety-five percent of big polluters' emissions. That was due to be phased out, albeit too slowly, but the Bill will leave those subsidies in place indefinitely.
"I am very concerned that the review process that would address these subsidies along with other ETS issues will no longer be compulsory but will occur only if the Minister wants it to.
"Heavily subsidised polluters have no incentive whatsoever to reduce their emissions when the tab for them is being picked up by the taxpayer.
"And if polluters are not paying for their emissions they've no incentive to reduce them.
"The Government's own estimate of the cost of this Bill to the taxpayer in just the next four years is over $330 million.
"The ETS is the main system New Zealand has for reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. Hollowing it out like this makes a farce of our climate change commitments."
A copy of the submission is available here.