Climate Change Bill

Today, the Minister for Climate Change, Nick Smith, introduced an ETS – Emissions Trading Scheme – bill into Parliament. This will change the ETS that the Labour government passed. Dr Smith said that it was important not to be too tough on industry because we do not want industries to move to another country.

The plan now is to reduce carbon emissions 10% to 20% below 1990 levels by 2020 and 50% by 2050. Other emissions include methane from animals.

This new ETS will give us until July 1st 2010 before we have to pay for the carbon pollution that comes from transport, energy and industry. We will pay an extra 5% on electricity and 3.5cents a litre on petrol. Industry will pay $25 a tonne for the carbon it makes, but will only pay half of this for the first three years. All these extra costs will mean about $165 more a year for each household.

Although the Maori Party was against this bill at first because of the costs to the tax payer, finally they agreed to support it. One reason is that many Maori tribes are using their Treaty Settlement money for industry. However, the government has promised the Maori Party some help for low income families, like free home insulation, in return for supporting the ETS bill.

Some Maori tribes own forests. Trees use carbon dioxide and can earn carbon credits, but if the trees are cut down for timber, more trees must be planted and this is very expensive.

Agriculture is the biggest industry in New Zealand. This ETS bill gives farmers five years before they have to pay for the greenhouse gases from their animals. The Prime Minister, John Key, is in New York at the moment, attending a United Nations meeting. Before the conference began, leaders met to talk about climate change. The US has agreed to John Key’s plan to help pay for research into ways of reducing agricultural emissions.

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