Nick Smith gets heat over 2020 Green House Gas Target
20th Aug 09, 11:10am
From NZ Parliament Questions for Oral Answer:
Charles Chauvel: How can the Minister claim to have confidence in the modelling, given that it did not take into account likely increases in new forestry plantings, comparable action to be taken by other countries, benefits from improved domestic energy efficiency, or the adoption of new, low-carbon technologies in New Zealand; and will he accept that he has overstated the costs, when more appropriate modelling would have shown that deeper emissions cuts were possible at relatively modest cost? Hon Dr NICK SMITH: The simple point I would make to Labour is this: if reducing emissions was so easy and so inexpensive, why did they go up in every single year that Labour was in Government? I would further point out that the Treasury analysis of the costs would suggest that the analysis done by Infometrics and the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research was conservative. The third point I would make is that the member is incorrect in saying that the analysis did not include the impact of what other countries would do; it specifically addressed that point. David Garrett: Does the Minister agree with the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research and Infometrics report to the Emissions Trading Scheme Review Committee that a carbon price of $100 a tonne would still leave emissions 20 percent above 1990 levels; and what price has he been advised would be needed to take New Zealand 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, or does he not know? Hon Dr NICK SMITH: I think it is very important for the member to recognise the difference between an emissions reduction target and a responsibility target. What is being debated and what is being agreed in international forums around climate change is a responsibility target"”that is, that New Zealand has the option either to reduce emissions, to deal with sinks such as forestry, or to buy units internationally. The New Zealand Institute of Economic Research and Infometrics analysis was based on a responsibility target, which is proper because that is what the debate is about. David Garrett: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The question was quite precise: does the Minister agree with the report's figure of $100 a tonne to keep emissions 20 percent above 2020 levels, and what price has he been advised would be needed? The question did not go anywhere near responsibility targets or whatever other label the Minister gave. Hon Dr NICK SMITH: The point I am making to the member is that the 10 to 20 percent target that the Government has tabled at the international negotiations does not necessarily equate to a reduction in emissions in New Zealand. That is why his question is incorrect, in that New Zealand has the option under the international model to buy units at the international carbon price.