NZ’s Climate Change Weapon - Why Our ETS Is A Plastic Fork For A Gun Fight

The New Zealand Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) is our primary mechanism for dealing with climate change. But, as it sits right now – it’s neither fit for purpose to meet our commitments under the Paris Agreement to combat climate change nor will it allow New Zealand to meet the net zero carbon target of 2050. If climate change is humanity’s ultimate battle - we’re currently packing a plastic fork for a gun fight.

New Zealand has the second oldest federal ETS in the world. It has cross-party support in Parliament. Established by the outgoing Labour Government in late 2008, it was adopted and substantially changed by National the following year and now is in the hands of Labour’s coalition partner – the Greens.

The main reason the ETS is not up to the job, is the lack of carbon credit supply in the ETS to meet future demand. At present, the main printing press in the ETS is forestry. Forest owners register their forests in the ETS and earn carbon credits annually for the amount of carbon they sequester, some or all of these they can sell to emitters and the balance is repaid if and when they harvest.

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