Emissions Trading Scheme revisions timely and necessary

Forest owners are calling the proposed revisions to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) both timely and necessary if New Zealand is to hope to meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets.

Forest Owners Association President Peter Weir says the Te Uru Rākau discussion paper (closing date for submissions: is appropriately the first significant document to be produced by the new forestry unit established within the Ministry for Primary Industry.

“The Ministry for the Environment quite correctly states ‘The ETS is New Zealand’s main tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions so it’s important it is a credible and well-functioning scheme that helps us meet our climate change targets.’”

Peter Weir says a significant inclusion in the discussion is that of the retention of carbon in what are termed harvested wood products.

“The current scheme makes no allowance for the fact that carbon remains locked up in timber for potentially longer than the life of the tree it was produced from. This is recognised internationally, but here in New Zealand it doesn’t flow through for the benefit of forest growers or wood processors.”

“Likewise, we are uncertain so far of how a proposed ‘cost containment reserve’ price ceiling mechanism might work to replace the current ceiling of $25 per tonne.”

“Mindful of the Productivity Commission’s recommendation of a meaningful carbon price a rigid cap at $25 per tonne, it’s not going to change behaviour.”