A universal aberration | The Jackal

1 Feb 2012

A universal aberration

Last Sunday, the Ministry of Economic Development released New Zealand's Energy Outlook 2011 (PDF), which presents long-term forecasts of energy supply, demand, prices and energy sector greenhouse gas emissions.

Not only is the report late or incorrectly named, being that it's now 2012, it also makes a number of non-factual statements... not least of which are its outdated projections:

The Reference Scenario assumes an emissions price of $25 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) emitted from 2013. Two alternative sensitivities are considered, a no emissions price sensitivity case and a sensitivity case where the emission price rises to reach $100 per tonne by 2020 and remains at that level out to 2030.

It's interesting that the $25 per tonne of CO2 projected by the Ministry of Economic Development has halved since their $50 per tonne projection in 2010. But what's even more indicative of the government's incompetence is this Press report that shows the MED 2011 forecast is already 68% off the mark:

Since the disappointments of Durban, the market price of carbon has crashed from about $21 a tonne to barely $8. So should he be buying or selling to strengthen his position? Again, "buggered" if he can say. "We're just growers, not carbon traders," Alexander admits.


Kyoto 1 was supposed to see us back down to a 1990 level of carbon pollution of 310Mt for the five-year period. But a Sustainability Council analysis of the latest numbers shows us 55Mt over this budget.

The main problem that has led to a huge reduction in the price of carbon is polluting industries threatening to outsource their businesses to countries where the tax is not in effect or not properly enforced.

In light of this threat, some government's have despicably decided to not adhere to their protocols to profit at the expense of countries that do... a cold hearted calculation because they know from experience that to bypass any worldwide carbon reduction regime goes largely without financial penalty.

The threat to outsource is of course coming from the very industries that need further regulation. In effect they're holding the world to ransom and have kneecapped the Kyoto protocols effectiveness with their short-sightedness. They wish to avoid the carbon tax because it means a costly change to their manufacturing processes to ensure competitiveness... a decision purely based on greed.

With such a weak response from many countries who only agreed at the Durbin climate talks that even if a binding treaty is agreed to in 2015, it wont even take effect until 2020, we can expect the climate change problem to continue to go unchecked for many years to come.