On Thursday Parliament passed Labour’s climate change legislation, featuring an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), with the support of the Green Party.
Green Party candidate for the Tukituki MP seat, Quentin Duthie has prepared an account of this measure and the further local challenges involved in addressing global warming. I urge you to open and read his briefing, because it contains other web links to useful resources on the issue.
Meantime, here are some of his key points:
“The framework is now there to send a price signal through the NZ economy.
It does cost – that is the whole point. Climate change has environmental and social costs that we all pay for. An ETS attempts to internalise some of that cost into our economy to motivate efficiency, emission reduction, forestry, and innovation into lower-emission technologies. If the ETS spreads the cost fairly – so the polluter pays, so firms with genuine competitiveness risks are partially shielded, and so households who cannot afford the added cost are assisted – then our economy will begin to shift to a low-carbon future. This must be the future, but is also a contemporary necessity to protect the clean green brand that our agricultural exports capitalise on …
While the ETS will create a price signal to begin behaviour and technology change, its effectiveness is limited due to delayed sectors and investment lag-times. Therefore we need to use the power of regulation and Government funding to bring about change too. A crucial complementary measure the Greens negotiated is a $1 billion dollar fund for household energy efficiency such as insulation and clean heating, reducing household costs, national energy demand and emissions. This will help make Hawkes Bay households warmer and drier, with added public health benefits …
Climate change will not just impact on others; it will impact on us locally. MAF forecasts that agriculture in Hawkes Bay will suffer more drought, for example. A key messages to come out of the public meeting was that the community itself must take the initiative and prepare itself, rather than just relying on an ETS or Government funding. It was pleasing to hear of many initiatives in Hawkes Bay doing just this: from Flaxmere’s community garden to the new commuter bus service.”
Meanwhile, National has served notice that, while it supports government action on global warming, it will revise the just-enacted scheme should it win power. More on that to come.