Saturday, April 30, 2016

An open letter to New Zealand's media

Below is a media release from the University of Canterbury in February, 2013. This was sent to all major media outlets by our media consultant. As you can see it clearly lays out the case against hot air credits and how they were undermining our emissions trading scheme (ETS). 
A peer-reviewed article with the evidence is attached. You can also see web-based versions laying out this issue, chapter and verse, at:

There were official University of Canterbury press releases associated with many of these latter blogs.

It's ironic that the media responded almost a year after the government had outlawed the surrender of bogus credits to account for emissions.  This has left the public with an erroneous belief that our ETS cannot be salvaged.

One has to wonder, what is required for the media to pay attention? Why has it taken so long for the issue to gain prominence?

This question is not a criticism of Kip Brook, our former media consultant, who, I believe, did an excellent job.

Kind regards,
Euan Mason

February 2013 press release:

NZ's greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme more or less dead, UC expert says
February 12, 2013

New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme (ETS) is more or less dead, a University of Canterbury (UC) forestry professor says.

New Zealand allowed unrestricted imports of credits, including many hot air credits from eastern Europe, so New Zealand has become a dumping ground for worthless credits from elsewhere, Associate Professor Euan Mason said today.

``You can see this in the credit trading traffic recorded by our credit registry. No other country with a carbon trading scheme behaves in this way. They recognise that some credits are doing nothing for the environment and they restrict them.

``We give our agricultural sector a free ride, even though agriculture contributes roughly half our total emissions. The whole idea of being greenhouse gas neutral by purchasing credits in a cap and trade scheme is irrational,'' Professor Mason said.

``Under our scheme when a firm falls below its allocation of free units, it could use the remaining units to offset its remaining emissions and claim that its operations were greenhouse gas neutral, when in fact it has only reduced emissions to the level of the cap. Not all credits are created equal, but they are treated equally in our scheme.

``We have failed to change in substantial ways because our ETS provides no incentive. We have failed to plan for the future, and during the 2020s our emissions are going to rise hugely when the forests planted in the 1990s - those that saved NZ during the first Kyoto commitment period - are harvested. We have withdrawn from Kyoto rather than take responsibility for this failure.

``We have progressively weakened our ETS so that New Zealand has not changed much in the face of climate change and now when it is clear that the consequences of our failure are approaching we have withdrawn from Kyoto. We also allow unrestricted imports of credits.

``Other countries and people are changing their behaviour. In Sweden, for instance, one sees wind generators everywhere and Sweden now generates more than 50 percent of its energy from renewables versus 35 percent in New Zealand, even though Sweden has limited capacity for hydro compared to NZ.

``European states all have action plans to increase the proportion of renewable energy. Our failure is now widely known, because we have withdrawn from Kyoto. We all worked so hard on our ETS but it failed for political reasons.''

Professor Mason said large segments of the New Zealand community were in denial. Many people in the farming sector believed that climate change was a hoax. The rest of the world was actually trying to solve the problem, he said.

New Zealand could easily be greenhouse gas neutral by planting 2.5 million hectares of eroding land in trees with hardly any destocking of livestock.

``This would make New Zealand the first OECD country to be fully greenhouse gas neutral for between 60 to 100 years. That would help us back up our 100% pure slogan.''

For further information contact Euan Mason on or UC media consultant Kip Brook on 0275 030168

You can contact me at or 022 6470088

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