The uncertainty created by the shelving of the current emissions trading scheme legislation is already having a significant impact on the New Zealand economy. Carbon News reports that one of the world’s leading players in the carbon market had planned to announce today that it was to open an NZ operation, but that as a result of the National/ACT deal, those plans have been put on hold. NZ’s international reputation in carbon markets is “taking a battering” according to TZ1 boss Mark Franklin, and the market for NZ emissions units (NZUs) is now “effectively dead”, CN reports.
The forestry sector is also feeling the impact of Key’s decision to cave in to Hide, with Roger Dickie of the Kyoto Forestry Association telling Morning Report yesterday that a major forestry project worth hundreds of millions of dollars has been cancelled as a result of the ETS decision (stream, mp3). Also worth a listen: Rod Oram on Nine To Noon today, assessing the new cabinet (stream, mp3). Nick Smith, the incoming minister with responisbility the environment and climate change portfolios apparently still believes (according to Oram) that a modified ETS can be up and running by 2010, but the “special” select committee process is going to make that very hard to achieve – especially if consideration of a carbon tax is included in the final terms of reference. Brian Fallow in the Herald believes an ETS is “most likely“, but in the meantime the uncertainty created by the new government is doing no-one except the big “do nothing” emitters any favours.
To avoid further damage to our international credibility, National should immediately issue revised terms of reference and a tight timetable for their “special” select committee: taking out all references to considering the science of climate change and the possibility of a carbon tax, and explicitly limit the committee to considering amendments to the ETS framework. To do less (or nothing) will do further damage to business in NZ and our international reputation.