Recent updates to the Government’s Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) are a mixed bag according to sources in the New Zealand Forestry industry.
Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett announced a raft of changes in the fraught area of global emissions last week. Key players in the Forestry sector are concerned that these changes will end up costing New Zealanders unnecessarily, and jeopardise meeting our international obligations.
Under the Paris Agreement, New Zealand has ended up paying more than many other countries, simply because we emit more carbon than we fix.
President of the NZ Forestry Institute James Treadwell says “the Government has done some great work in the ETS review, but it’s missed a few key opportunities to simplify the complex and piecemeal arena around global emissions.
Quite simply, New Zealand’s emissions profile gap can be improved, with new forestry plantings. But the recent announcements from the Minister that further changes are possible, are unlikely to motivate new forest plantings, and may even encourage deforestation.
Right now the forestry sector needs clarity. It’s time for the Government to issue a strong message to foresters and say you will not be disadvantaged by any future changes to the ETS framework. Certainty is required.
It’s forestry. We’re dealing with an investment that takes 30 years to mature.Complex planning, land use and investment considerations are involved on top of these ETS requirements.
NZIF and the forest sector are calling for key changes that offer greater certainty and give investors confidence to get into land planting.
The current uncertainty does nothing to encourage long term investment such as planting of new forests, and this ultimately increases the costs for New Zealanders now and in the future”.
In addition, the Government review has left the agriculture sector outside of the ETS. This significant omission has stirred up comment across the country. The NZIF is calling time on this imbalance.
The Government needs to level the playing field in New Zealand, and bring agriculture into the ETS equation. Better to encourage investment in New Zealand forestry and facilitate meet our international emission commitments. The positive commitments of planting our own poor land, creating employment in the regions, tackling erosion, and reducing our carbon footprint are surely preferable, to buying carbon credits from other countries.
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