First do no harm

First do no harm is a guiding principle in medicine.

If politicians and bureaucrats abided by it too we wouldn’t be saddled with the Kyoto Protocol in its current form. Nor would New Zealand be in danger of scoring an on-goal economically while at best making no impact on the environment and almost certainly  making it worse.

However, a joint report by the NZIER and Infometrics provides a glimmer of hope that reason might be brought to bear on our Kyoto commitments.

Environment Minister Nick SMith said at its release:

This report concludes that a modified emissions trading scheme is the best way forward. I am releasing this report to assist with informed public debate on climate change.

“The report highlights that the costs to New Zealand’s climate change policy are significantly greater if other countries do not put a price on carbon. This reinforces the Government’s policy of aligning our response more closely with other countries.

The report concludes:

On balance, our recommendation in the short run is to introduce an ETS with free allocation to competitiveness-at-risk sectors, with agriculture excluded if measurement of its emissions is prohibitively expensive. Free allocation should be output-linked and phased out as our competitors adopt carbon pricing. If agriculture is initially excluded it should be transitioned into the ETS, with free allocation if required, as measurement becomes economic.

The hardworking MP for Eketahuna, Alf Grumble, reckons this will give agriculture a bit of breathing space. I trust he’s lobbying his colleagues to ensure it does.

2 Responses to First do no harm

  1. Alf Grumble says:

    I am, Ele, I am. Actually, I left a bigger carbon footprint than usual last night, burning the midnight oil – so to speak – while reading the report, to better prepare me to do battle politically on the issue. Dunno what them Labour rascals thought they were up to with their silly ETS ideas.

  2. Mark Hubbard says:

    Hi Homepaddock

    However, a joint report by the NZIER and Infometrics provides a glimmer of hope that reason might be brought to bear on our Kyoto commitments.

    I’m not so sure, unfortunately – though I realise, and sincerely hope, vis a vis the farming sector, the jury is still truly out. I sent the below around by email after English’s dreadful first budget – and apologies now, but I’ve only got time to cut and paste.

    Despite the fact the government can’t afford tax cuts, these ‘savings’ (that is, our savings) and much more, funded by government debt, is also going into the set up of an Emissions Trading Scheme. Half a billion dollars has been set aside in this budget for the set up of an ETS. Only Muriel Newman seems to have figured this out, here:

    http://www.nzcpr.com/weekly182.htm

    Quote, and read this paragraph carefully:

    ‘Keeping in mind that the “unaffordable” tax cuts would have cost $98 million next year, how do we feel about the appropriation of $550 million that has been set aside for climate change? Most of this has been ear-marked for buying carbon credits to give to businesses to get the emissions trading scheme off the ground. Those who believed that the Government was genuinely awaiting the outcome of an “independent” Select Committee review will be disappointed to see that the die is already cast. And consumers worried about the added cost of an emissions trading scheme will be especially concerned to find out that the half a billion dollar cost is only the beginning of what will be an enormously unproductive drain on our already fragile economy. ‘

    As far as an ETS to overlay yet more cost onto our farming sector, I suspect the current shakeup in the dairy sector will buy them a bit of time, but that ETS is coming to the farming sector sometime soon, nevertheless.

    I’m not remotely happy with this National/ACT government.

    I call English’s budget dreadful because in the one period of time the size and breadth of the Welfare State should have been attacked, he chose to extend it. Worse, has added to the corruption of the lexicon, and the defeatist rot in peoples minds, by referring to benefits as ‘entitlements’ (since when?)

    And now Key refuses to show his hand in the smacking referendum.

    I reckon if a government looks like a bunch of socialists, sounds like a bunch of socialists, then …

    Mind you, in the last election I was a Libz candidate 🙂

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