In the wake of the Morgan Foundations hard-hitting report “Climate Cheats”, Simon Johnson (aka Mr February) asks if New Zealand Steel received millions of emission units for free under the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme industrial allocation provisions and yet still bought millions of the dubious international Russian units (ERUs) to make windfall arbitrage profits.
The Morgan Foundation’s latest report “Climate Cheats” has been sizzling across the various media in the last week. The language of the report is refreshingly non-neutral and unashamedly emotive. It is in equal parts compelling and condemning.
Carbon credit scheme a farce, reported the Herald. Climate change cheating, said Radio New Zealand. Dodgy deals, climate swindle, climate fraudsters, junk carbon scam, said report author Geoff Simmons.
As a consequence, “Climate Cheats” is an easy and engaging read – no mean feat given the topic – that is also thoroughly well-researched. It really is a ‘high integrity’ credit to it’s authors (if you pardon the pun).
In this post I want to look specifically at one particular type of corporate conduct – arbitrage profiteering – covered in “Climate Cheats”.
Simon Johnson aka Mr February looks at the Government’s latest token consultation about tinkering with the train-wreck New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme. We are still driving fast towards a cliff but the argument has moved from which gear to air-con versus heater. The Government has kindly given us the opportunity to make a submission about how hot or cold we should be as we go over the emissions cliff.
In which I guest-post as myself and describe a carbon forest sink project I am involved in and our debate about whether we should provide carbon offsets to anyone as part of the project. I originally wrote this for the Greens Frogblog
Simon Johnson is a conservationist, tramper, accountant, former DOC worker and resource management consultant. Simon also blogs periodically at Hot-Topic.co.nz. In this guest post he writes about carbon offsetting from the point of view of a carbon forest.
I am one of the trustees of a small 47-hectare carbon forest sink and native re-vegetation project and mountain bike park; “Project Rameka” in the east Takaka hills in Golden Bay.
It’s really a response to climate change made by two of my old friends, Bronwen Wall and Jonathan Kennett, who bought the land in 2008. Bronwen and Jonathan decided to apply their experience organising native planting projects in Wellington to climate change after reading the 2007 fourth report of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
It’s been embraced enthusiastically by the Golden Bay community who do the planting, pest control and track work through Project Rameka Inc.
The land is owned by a trust and I am one of the trustees. I did the early accounting for the trust and prepared the application to get the land into the Permanent Forest Sinks Iniative (PFSI).
In return for a 50-year covenant restricting the land use to forest, we receive about 800 carbon credits (specifically assigned amount units) per year for Project Rameka. These units started life as part of New Zealand’s 1990 baseline amount of ‘Kyoto’ units under the Kyoto Protocol.
How many units we get is based on the amount of carbon withdrawn from the atmosphere by the trees. Thanks to the Golden Bay weather, plants grow really quickly. So we really are storing carbon. We have seen 3cm annual growth rings in the few pines we have removed.
I apologise if you had an extreme reaction to the close conjunction of the terms “Tim Groser”, “emissions trading scheme” and “integrity”. My apologies if you just coughed your coffee/beer/tea over your laptop or punched out your PC monitor.
Assuming you have cleaned up, I should provide the context for Tim Groser’s unintentional irony in claiming to be concerned about the integrity of an emissions trading scheme where emission units trade for less than $3 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent gas.
In this post Simon Johnson aka Mr February channels his inner General Westmoreland and his Vietnam flashbacks to look at National’s latest change to the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZETS). Parliament has just (8 November) passed amendments that indefinitely defer any greenhouse gas obligations for agriculture and indefinitely discount obligations to industries.This is a ‘last helicopters off the Saigon hotel roof’ point in the sad history of the always-doomed-to-fail New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme.
So why am I writing about graffiti from a war that ended 37 years ago? Well, to make a ‘bonkers’ analogy with the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme, of course! Getting the NZETS established was of course more or less a civil war, and when the Labour Government in its final days in office in late 2008 finally coalesced a coalition of compromise to pass the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading) Amendment Act 2008, it seemed there was ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ in terms of reducing GHG emissions.