24 November 2011

International climate change negotiations planning to fail

Climate Change Minister Nick Smith seems perfectly happy to pretty much ignore the science (as visualised in the excellent graphic of future emissions pathways) and see the UNFCCC/Kyoto process fail.

Here is a statement he made to Parliament where he implies the lack of an international climate change agreement, after Kyoto ends in 2012, is fine with him as it enables him to tell Kennedy Graham (Greens MP) that there will be no cost after 2012 to the taxpayer from giving emitters free emissions units.

"This member and other members make the gross error of trying to claim that not exposing industries or consumers to the full price of carbon over all their emissions is somehow a subsidy. A subsidy implies that there is a cost to taxpayers. That is not true. It is not true, and members opposite who attempt to run that argument ignore the fact that there is no international agreement beyond the end of 2012 for reducing emissions at this point, and without it, there is no cost to the New Zealand taxpayer."

To me Smith seems to be saying "It's no big deal if the UNFCCC/Kyoto process fails. In fact, we are relying on failure in the crazy design of our NZETS".

As well as basing the NZETS policy on a bet that the Durban conference will continue 18 years of stalemate, Smith is also wrong in fact about costs to taxpayers. The NZ emissions units are owned by the Crown on behalf of taxpayers. Giving them away free to emitters is a transfer of wealth from all taxpayers to emitters. Or a cost.

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