Greens Quoting Selectively From MAF Briefing

We have no had a chance to read the full briefing for incoming Ministers from MAF.  This was used two days ago by the Green Party to criticise the Government’s attempts to negotiate better rules for agriculture in the post 2012 international rules (the rules being negotiated now to replace the flawed Kyoto Protocol).  A reading of the full briefing makes it clear that MAF not only expected such a re-negotiation it welcomes this, and the need for flexibility – exactly what John Key seemed to me to be saying, but exactly what the Greens were criticising.  I repeat the relevant section of the MAF BIM in full (the sections of greatest interest are bolded):

Emissions Trading Scheme

By 2010 New Zealand’s agricultural emissions are projected to have increased by 22 percent compared to 1990 levels. Under New Zealand’s Kyoto Protocol commitments this increase in emissions is forecast to cost $900 million (assuming $25 per tonne of CO2 equivalent) over the first commitment period of 2008 to 2012.

The Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading and Renewable Preference) Act provides for this cost to be met by the New Zealand taxpayer. However, the Act is predicated on New Zealand having further and more onerous obligations in future commitment periods beyond 2012. As such, the Act imposes an obligation on the agricultural sector to meet the cost of emissions over 90% of its historical 2005 emission levels from 2013 until 2018. In principle the Act envisages that the agricultural sector will progressively increase its responsibility for its total share of emissions from 2018 onwards as the global economy moves toward carbon being fully priced into economic activity.

However, it is important to note that New Zealand does not actually have any international binding commitments beyond 2012 and there is considerable uncertainty as to what further commitments might entail. As such a number of decisions about the Emissions Trading Scheme for agriculture need to be confirmed, and others are yet to be made. This will be outlined in further briefings.

The price signals arising from the Emissions Trading Scheme can be expected to encourage responses, both “on and off the farm”, including incentivising greater research and development efforts. However, the Emissions Trading Scheme also has the potential to significantly impact on the international competitiveness of New Zealand agriculture by imposing a cost on production that is not faced by international competitors.

Importantly the Emissions Trading Scheme legislation provides a reasonably long transition for agriculture, as well as periodic reviews of the obligations faced by agriculture to ensure the costs do not place at risk New Zealand’s competitiveness and simply shift production to other countries. The international architecture responding to climate change is highly dynamic and uncertain. The challenge for New Zealand is to retain flexibility in our domestic response to cope with this dynamism without fuelling unnecessary and unhelpful uncertainty for investment.


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One Response to “Greens Quoting Selectively From MAF Briefing”

  1. adamsmith1922 Says:

    Interestingly Ralph Nader suggests Obama should push for a carbon tax regime

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