The Minister of Climate Change, Nick Smith, gave some strange information about our carbon emissions yesterday. (See September 23rd 2008 for information about the Emissions Trading Scheme.) Last year we put too much carbon into the atmosphere and would need to buy $546 million of carbon credits. This year, amazingly, we have $241 million of carbon credits that we could sell to another country. The Emissions Trading Scheme doesn’t start until 2015.
The figures show how hard it is to measure carbon that is going into the atmosphere. In 2002, New Zealand had 55 million tonnes of carbon credits but in 2006 we had 64 million tonnes of carbon deficit, which means we would have to buy some carbon credits.
Farmers believe that the government needs to take farm animals out of the Emissions Trading Scheme. Agriculture is too important for our economy – for exports and for jobs.
Nick Smith says that the difference in figures is because of a drop in the number of farm animals during the drought. Also many forests were planted in the 1990s.
Although forests are helping to reduce our carbon emissions, we are still 23% above 1990 levels of carbon emissions in transport, energy and industry. Under the Kyoto agreement, countries are trying to return to 1990 levels.