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Kyoto: Australia “IN” New Zealand “Out”


New Zealand signed up for an emissions trading scheme in November 2009, fully expecting Australia to sign in an ETS the next week. Thanks to one vote and an Abbot win, Australia didn’t sign up then, but will get one (unless things change) in 2015.

Kyoto 1 ends in December 31, 2012, and not a moment too soon. Last week Australia signed up for Kyoto 2, but this time New ZealandĀ  didn’t.

[Reuters] Neighbouring New Zealand said it would not sign up for the next phase and would instead join a separate convention, including large greenhouse gas emitters such as the United States and China.

Kyoto 2 will only include 15% of emissions. The New Zealanders didn’t want “in” with such a small ineffectual crowd, and will wait for the US and China.

[Reuters] Australia in July introduced a A$23 ($24) per tonne carbon tax on top polluters, which will move into an emissions trading scheme from mid 2015. Australia and the European Union have agreed to link their trading schemes by 2018.

New Zealand’s abandonment of Kyoto 2 followed changes to its emissions trading scheme (ETS), which allowed unlimited use of carbon credits to meet targets at near-record low carbon prices.

The changes also kept out the agriculture sector, which accounts for around half of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions, from the ETS.

Plus there was the matter of needing to redesign their trading scheme as well.

Greens climate change spokesman Kennedy Graham said: “Not content to pass a law [on Thursday] to gut New Zealand’s emissions trading scheme, the National Government is now out to undermine any international credibility the nation ever had on climate change.”

The key appears to be that on November 2, 2012, NZ opted for the cheapest carbon credits they can get:

[Reuters] New Zealand put it’s trading scheme on hold

Parliament is expected to approve amendments within weeks to allow the unlimited flow of cheap U.N.-based carbon offsets to New Zealand that have driven down the price of domestic pollution permits to a tenth of what they were last year.

The proposals also extend indefinitely a sweetener for polluters to submit one permit for every two tonnes of emissions. New Zealand is the only country to offer the scheme, which halves carbon costs and was previously due to end in late 2012 or early 2013.

The result is that New Zealand polluters can meet their emissions obligations at a fraction of the cost paid by their competitors in Europe and Australia. Cheap carbon costs give businesses little incentive to invest in ways to cut emissions.

New Zealand is different: they aren’t tied to the EU scheme, they’re tied to the UN credits

[Reuters] New Zealand’s scheme is the only national programme that allows polluters to meet all emissions obligations with U.N.-backed carbon offsets. Europe and Australia have imposed strict limits on the use of U.N. offsets.

The U.N. offsets, called Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) hit all-time lows last week, touching 71 euro cents a tonne



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