Monday, February 10, 2020

Open letter to Hon James Shaw, minister for climate change issues

Dear Hon James Shaw,

Yesterday I presented to the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Emissions Trading Scheme amendment bill. I pointed out that the Kyoto process has failed to halt a continuing rise in anthropogenic emissions, and that our ETS has so far failed to arrest a continuing rise in New Zealand’s emissions.

The common element in these failures is the creation of fraudulent credits that have no environmental credibility and cannot confer GHG neutrality on polluters who purchase them.  For details, please see

The response from committee members was to apparently acknowledge the validity of my argument, for which I’m grateful, but also to invoke a “leakage” argument in defence of plans to continue manufacturing and allocating fraudulent credits to polluters. 

The leakage argument is barely better than the “we are too small to matter” argument. Essentially it says, “We cannot afford to have an effective ETS because nobody else does”. Clearly if all nations adopt this argument, then the problem of anthropogenic climate change will not be solved. 

Moreover, do we have an ETS in order to simply appear to be making progress towards our GHG neutrality by 2050 target, or to really, truly get to our 2050 target? As outlined in my submissions, we can get to our target if we wish, but if we adopt an ETS structure that encourages investment in polluting enterprises for the sake of short term expediency then we are choosing not to meet out target.

Kind regards,
Euan Mason

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