NZCSC Media Release- NZ must defer ETS as Australia has just done

The reported decision by the Rudd Government to shelve Australia’s
Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme legislation until 2013 at the earliest
is final confirmation that Prime Minister John Key will be justified in
deferring implementation of New Zealand’s emissions trading scheme (ETS)
due to start on 1 July. This statement today by Hon Barry Brill, a
former Minister of Science in an earlier National Government, and now
chairman of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition.

“The Sydney Morning Herald reports today that it has learnt the Rudd
Government has decided to put the scheme on ice to undercut the
Liberal-National Coalition’s ‘great big new tax’ scare campaign,
particularly after the failure of the Copenhagen climate conference and
uncertainty over the fate of the US emissions trading scheme. Labour
will insist it still believes an ETS is the best way to reduce emissions
but will cite domestic and international pressures as making it
impossible to introduce in the short term. The scheme had been due to
begin with a carbon tax next year, moving to full trading in 2012,” said
Mr Brill.

“New Zealand will continue to be seen as the world leader in fighting
climate change even if the commencement date of the Emissions Trading
Scheme (ETS) is deferred for the same period as Australia. The New
Zealand business and farming community has called upon the Government to
postpone the starting date for the ETS, until some of our trading
partners catch up. But we have opened up such a lead on the rest of the
world, that we would still take the gold medal, even while the scheme
was sitting on the back burner.

“The Prime Minister campaigned on the basis that the National Party
would abandon Labour’s grandiose plan to make New Zealand the world’s
first carbon-free nation. He said we would be fast-followers and would
do no more than our ‘fair share’ of world efforts to combat global warming.

“Mr Key has not delivered on this mandate. By any measure, New Zealand
has galloped away from the field, and is now a clear leader in the world
climate change stakes. If the ETS were deferred tomorrow, what other
developed country could match this record:
1. The only country to have a legislated national ETS in place.

2. The only country to even contemplate an all-sectors, all-gases ETS.

3. The third most ambitious emission reduction targets for 2020 (after
Norway and Japan)

4. The second highest proportion of renewable electricity.

5. The leader in research into reduction of agricultural emissions.

6. One of only two non-European countries fully compliant with Kyoto
obligations, to date.

“We need to recall that we emit only 0.2% of global GHGs and that our
concerns are purely reputational. Last year, Mr Key justified the ETS on
the grounds that our products might be singled out for a consumer
backlash if we are perceived to be a world laggard on climate change.
Well, that is no longer an issue because none of our major markets
contemplates bringing agriculture into any proposed ETS or cap- and
trade regime. The backlash argument can no longer be used as
justification for a 2010 refusal to defer the ETS commencement date.
This latest development in Australia makes similar deferral in New
Zealand a no-brainer,” said Mr Brill.