New Zealand's climate disaster

Climate disaster

I’m not talking about some disaster caused by climate change (because there haven’t been any), but an economic disaster caused by pointless efforts to “tackle climate change”. Not only is New Zealand’s ETS “beyond rescue”, but it also has a liability of up to $5bn under the Kyoto protocol for failing to meet emissions targets. Now $5bn is a truckload of money, which could have been far better spent on health, education, employment, infrastructure etc – in fact, anything rather than trying to change the planet’s climate:

The authors of The Carbon Challenge – Victoria University researcher and economist Geoff Bertram and climate-change analyst and researcher Simon Terry – also describe the Government’s current ETS as “technically obsolete” and “beyond rescue” as a sustainable framework for tackling climate change.

They say the scheme will not make any inroads into cutting New Zealand’s gross emissions levels.

On top of that, the ETS was so unfair in the way it distributed benefits to high emitters with political influence, while placing a regressive quasi-tax burden on households, that there was a risk it could undermine the public’s willingness to support a stronger regime in the future. [So I guess the news isn’t all bad.]

The authors say the bulk of the financial liabilities of several billion dollars arising from New Zealand exceeding its Kyoto Protocol target will fall on future taxpayers, making it a “massive intergenerational transfer of liability”.

The ETS completely fails as a mechanism to make today’s polluters meet today’s emissions bill.”

The book says there is complacency in New Zealand that credits for storing carbon in forestry crops will save the country from having to seriously address reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

But this year’s Budget had broken with the past by flagging the real cost of New Zealand’s 22 per cent overshoot of its Kyoto target. Depending on the price of carbon, it said the Kyoto liability could be as much as $5.7 billion.

That Budget reference officially scotched the myth that the Government did not face any financial effects under the protocol because it could rely on offsetting credits from plantation forests.

“The credits must be paid back when the trees are harvested in the 2020s.” The authors say using these credits to pay the Kyoto bill is like putting it “on the plastic” for the next generation to pay.

And Australia is heading straight down the same path.

Read it here. (h/t Andrew Bolt)

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