09 April 2016

Opening up the data on emissions units in the NZ emissions trading scheme

The Godfather In this post I include a gratuitous image of Marlon Brandon as the Godfather because all this wonky open data stuff I have been doing lately might be a bit boring. But I do eventually get around to a worked example of how to find out how many free units were given to NZ Aluminium Smelters Ltd.

Following on from the post about the data on internationally-sourced emission units that have been imported into New Zealand, I have uploaded more two data files to Google Sheets. They are in comma separated values (CSV) format.

The first sheet is NZETS-2010-2014-final-allocations-for-eligible-activities-csv which is five years of data on the free allocation (gifting) of New Zealand Units (NZUs) to emitting industries under the New Zealand emissions trading scheme (or NZETS).

This file combines into one sheet the numbers of allocated units (which are recorded in separate 'by year' tables) from the 'Industrial allocation decisions' pages on the Ministry for the Environment's climate change website.

The second sheet is Kyoto Unit Holdings by Account 2008 - 2014 which is seven years worth of data listing all account holders in the Emission Unit Register who held a balance of Kyoto Protocol emission units at 31 December of each year. This sheet combines all the seven year by year sheets linked to on the post about Kyoto emission units

The Kypto units are the Assigned Amount Units (AAUs), the Emission Reduction Units (which are otherwise known as the the dubious Russian or Ukrainian emission units), the Removal Units (RMUs) and the Certified Emission Reduction units (CERs). Oddly, there is no requirement for the Emission Unit Register to disclose the year end balances of NZUs held by account holders.

How do we use this data? We need a worked example.

Let's assume we are interested in New Zealand Aluminium Smelters Limited, the operator of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter. I mean, who isn't interested in the Godfather of the NZ emissions trading scheme?

All we have to do with our Google sheet is apply a filter to the top row, the column headings, select the third or 'C' column 'Activity', and then open a drop down dialogue box and then hit 'clear selection' then select 'Aluminium smelting'.

That tells us that New Zealand Aluminium Smelters Limited were given the following emission units

2010 210,421
2011 437,681
2012 301,244
2013 1,524,172
2014 755,987

In other words, NZ Aluminium Smelters were given millions of NZ emission units for free from 2010 to 2014. A total of 3,229,505 to be exact. A bar plot of the annual allocations looks like this.

So what happened in 2013? NZ Aluminium Smelters free allocation increased by a factor of five. Maybe that can wait for another post.

Here is the R script for the bar chart.

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