30 June 2010

ETS Good but Emitter Subsidies Bad – Environment Commissioner

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright, welcomes the Emissions Trading Scheme but is warning that emitter subsidies will cost taxpayers and dull the scheme's effectiveness.

Dr Wright says the next stage of the ETS, which comes into effect on Thursday, is a significant step in the right direction.

"Climate change is the biggest environmental challenge we face and the ETS means that New Zealand is joining other developed nations in the international effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

"The ETS is the right framework but I still have serious concerns about the subsidies to big emitters, which will not only impose significant costs on the taxpayer but also distort the carbon market and limit the incentives to reduce emissions.

"I hope that the Government will address these problems when the scheme is reviewed in 2011."

In her submission to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee late last year Dr Wright warned of the problems with overly generous subsidies.

A summary of the submission is available here.

ENDS