NZ review to look at linking with Australia CO2 scheme
NEW ZEALAND: A report reviewing New Zealand’s carbon-trading
scheme will be released later this month and will look at how to link
with neighbouring Australia’s carbon-pricing programme, Climate Change
Minister Nick Smith said on Monday.
New Zealand’s emissions trading scheme is the only national outside
Europe’s and the government has been conducting a mandatory review, with
the results delayed after Australia unveiled full details of its planned
programme on July 10.
“We’ve asked the review team to give a fine-tuning of their report,
relative to the significant announcements that have been made in
Australian policy,” Smith said, adding the government would likely
announce the result of the review in late August.
“If we’re going to have an ambition to move to a trans-Tasman market
post-2015, then that’s a complicated job that will require a lot of work
from officials,” Smith told a climate change conference in Wellington.
New Zealand has been reviewing its scheme after it was expanded to
include the transport and energy sectors on July 1 last year, which
together produce about half the nation’s greenhouse gas pollution.
Agriculture comprises the other half, mostly methane from livestock. The
review is looking at whether to remove a NZ$25 ($22) fixed-price option
for pollution permits; whether to drop the rule that emitters only have
to surrender permits for half their emissions; and if agriculture should
be included in the scheme from 2015.
Smith would not comment on either issue, but said he could positively
rule out inclusion of agriculture prior to 2015.
The Ministry for the Environment released a separate report on New
Zealand’s emissions trading scheme on Monday. The ministry found the
programme was working as intended, lowering emissions and helping the
country meet its 2008-12 target under the U.N.’s Kyoto Protocol, Smith
Integration with New Zealand is also an issue being considered by
Australian officials said Australia’s Parliamentary Secretary for
Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Mark Dreyfus.
“Our emissions trading schemes do not have to be identical to link
satisfactorily ... obviously there will be different responses due to
differences between our two economies,” Dreyfus told the conference.
Despite the tenuous position of Australia’s carbon tax plan, the
government was confident the scheme would survive beyond Australia’s
next federal election. “I expect that scheme will remain in place no
matter what happens at the election in late 2013,” Dreyfus said.
The political opposition is firmly opposed to the scheme, which
begins with a tax of A$23 ($25.3) a tonne of carbon emissions on the
nation’s top 500 polluting firms from July 1, 2012, before moving to
emissions trading in mid-2015. Smith said 2015 was the target for
aligning the two schemes.
The environment ministry report released on Monday showed 98 percent
of emissions were met with the local scheme currency, known as New
Zealand Units, as opposed to the fixed-price cap of NZ$25, or using
U.N.-issued international units, Smith said.
The report showed a change in investment decisions, helping net
emissions fall in 2008 and 2009, Smith said, adding: “I feel very
confident in saying we will comfortably meet our Kyoto target”. Reuters