So it's finally here, the emissions trading scheme.
What will it do for NZ? What will it do for the production of Carbon? What will it do for our economy?
Answer: Nothing! Nothing! Nothing!
This is not a debate about whether man is contributing any significant way to climate change? It goes beyond that into..."if man is contributing, will the ETS do anything?"
The clear answer is "No!"
What the ETS is (as descibed so beautifully by one of my callers this morning) is the stick. It is not an incentive, it is a tax...a fee...or a fine, take your choice.
If this was going to make a clear difference with pollution in NZ, then New Zealanders would be behind it...but it wont.
A classic example is a courier company that runs around Auckland with 'Carbon Neutral' stickers on their vans...good you think they are not emitting carbon! Well no, that's not how it works. They are still emitting the same carbon out of their vehicles, they are just paying a offset fee. They are purchasing carbon credits to hide their guilty sin!
Other points of interest with the ETS that we learned about two weekends ago with the Nick Smith interview.
If you have trees that qualifies you to receive money from the ETS, then it's more like a loan than an actual payment. The money that gets paid to individual New Zealanders is nice for them, but if those trees ever come down, through natural means or by the hand of man, then the owner of the trees has to pay back upwards of 70% to the government. It's probably closer to GST than anything else, a big money-go-round that will end back with the government.
If you have trees planted before 1990 they are not eligible for a payout, but if you cut them down you will be fined for it.
In the first year, the government will be paying out over $900 million to foresters, but only taking in $400 million from the ETS...the rest will come from our taxes, we will be subsidising the ETS through our taxes.
And finally, don't believe the hype over the ETS just being on fuel and electricity, this will effect the price of every 'Goods and Service' we have. Example, if you own a book store, and your power goes by hundreds per annum, as a book store owner you'll need to recover that cost...so up goes the price of books, or maybe an employee will lose a little work. Yes some businesses will absorb the price increases, but they will still be there. Nick Smith said on air that it will effect the price of everything.
I am not pro-pollution, no one is, but let's get realistic, if anything is going to be an incentive for New Zealanders to stop producing carbon...it's a carrot.