Cheap Carbon Credits to be reviewed

By Harata Brown

A new report suggests that New Zealand's Emissions Trading Scheme has been flooded with cheap carbon credits. Forest and Bird says this has resulted in low carbon prices and low revenues to restore native forests. 

Forest and Bird says iwi could be getting paid more to restore native forest on their lands

Forest & Bird Spokesperson Geoff Keey says, “Farmers can get paid to restore native forests on their land, and it is the same for iwi, anyone who lands, or plants and restores native forests can get paid, at the moment the carbon price is just too low so it's not worth it.”

A damning report released by the Morgan Foundation last week revealed New Zealand's carbon market has been flooded with cheap carbon credits from the Ukraine and Russia. The New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is how the New Zealand Government meets its international obligations around climate change.

The ETS puts a price on greenhouse gases to provide an incentive to reduce emissions and to encourage tree planting.

Keey says, "A bit like if you image a lot of cheap used cars in the car market and polluters don't have to pay for their admissions so there is no incentive to pay farmers and iwi to restore native forests."

In order to make better changes for climate change, Forest and Bird New Zealand says a strong mechanism for pricing carbon needs to be independently overseen and linked to a national carbon budget.

Keey says, “So the Government needs to completely overhaul the emissions trading scheme which sets the price that means getting rid of dodgy credits, basically getting rid of the used cars out of the car market as it were, and just having high quality credits. It also means removing the subsidies for polluters."

For now Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett says the trading scheme isn't perfect and it is being reviewed.