The Green Party is asking for public feedback on whether it should support or oppose the Government’s proposed greenhouse emissions trading scheme – see Jeanette Fitzsimons’ media release today.
My personal preference is for a simple “carbon” tax on greenhouse gas emissions (including N20, which is not actually a carbon compound).
Failing that, I could live with a strong emissions trading scheme with rapid introduction of transport and agriculture.
The Government’s scheme doesn’t do this, and there seems to have been little progress through negotiations between the Greens and Government in strengthening it.
I don’t agree with Chris Trotter’s analysis. To the contrary, I actually think the Greens could be dumped into the same greenwash bucket as Labour and National and be seen as abandoning their environmental roots if they support an ETS that is ineffective.
Having nothing to differentiate themselves from a weak Labour response to climate change will imo likely cost the Greens votes, rather than gain them.
Sure, Labour may go into “attack advertising” mode agaisnt the Greens, but that actually helped the Greens when National under Shipley did it in 1999. The EB’s effort at the last election was more of a mixed blessing, but I think that also did not do the Greens much harm – maybe cost one seat.
We can always start again after the election, and while I agree that urgent action is necessary on climate change, I don’t think a one year delay in the introduction of an ETS (or even better, a carbon tax, if the Greens can get enough electoral support to get that on the table again) would be particularly significant if we can bring forward the dates that transport and agriculture actually start paying for their emissions.
The other difficulty with supporting a weak ETS is that it is very hard to undo even if the political climate swings in favour of the Greens. People acquire property rights through an ETS, and you can imagine how some of them will bleat if there are future proposals to legislate over those property rights to implement more effective measures to curb greenhouse emissions.
The Greens are seeking feedback on this issue over the next few days. Their caucus needs to make a decision next Tuesday. So post responses here on whether you think the Greens should support the Government’s ETS, but also email them to email@example.com.