Tuesday, November 21, 2006

But maybe not for long. Good old Queenie has final say in the UK legislative process. Last week she outlined a bill to be put to the British parliament committing to a massive reduction in human induced GHG emissions.

What riled many was that an annual emissions target was not included. This speaks from the same policy chapter as the possibility of each Briton being issued with a carbon allowance. DTQ's and TEQ's have spawned from this concept - whereby Britons would "spend" their allowance depending on the carbon loading of the things they buy. It's classical polluter pays economics and not too dissimilar from the basis for establishment of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and the Chicago Climate Exchange.

The British, as part of the EU ETS, are streets ahead of where Kiwi businesses are. Although the odd doubt exists over the effectiveness of ETS, large British (and EU) organisations have been mandatorily accounting for their emissions for some time. As the system is refined the scope to replicate the concept at the individual level emerges.

We Kiwis have a range of carbon calculators available to us - CarbonZero is now easier on the eye, the NIWA version is a little simpler, while the MfE calculator is a little abstract. Many airlines offer customers the option of offsetting individual flights (BA have partnered with ClimateCare for theirs), and the Kaikoura Trees for Travellers scheme offers a practical local solution for the climate impact of the local economy's cornerstone activity.

Over the weekend another initiative was publicised. Celsias is a new business program that will also allow individuals and households to calculate and improve their profile on order to earn tradeable carbon credits. This is a departure from existing means of calculation as it will directly reward those who improve their emissions performance.

But much relies on Government policy. We've been sitting in a vacuum for a while now.

When our Government gets their shit sorted, carbon trading will offer opportunity a plenty for New Zealand businesses (and individuals). We've the advantage of having operated in a deregulated market for 20 years now. Our products more than most reflect the cost of production with accuracy. The elephant in the room - the un-accounted for cost to the environment - is surely a cost that we're ready to recognise. What are we afraid of?

Next week there's an opportunity to get the local low-down on carbon pricing options. The government and environment people at VUW bring you a lunchtime seminar next Friday 1st Dec. 12.30-1.45pm, room 312, level 3, at the railway station.

1 comment:

climatechangemitigation said...