Clear environment and business benefits from pricing carbon: New Zealand ETS Report Media Release

Aug 01, 2011 - 3:43pm

The independent Climate Institute today highlighted findings in New Zealand's first annual report into its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), saying it showed the environmental benefits that can flow from pricing carbon pollution.

Institute CEO, John Connor, said the report found that business support for an ETS had risen to 63 per cent, compared with 78 per cent opposed to it just two years ago.

“The report had good news on renewable energy with a surge in approvals for renewable power stations and a full stop on fossil fuel based power,” he said.

Eleven new stations, totalling 1340 MW have been consented in the first year of the ETS, made up of 59 per cent wind, 26 per cent geothermal, 13 per cent hydro and two per cent tidal. This is a five-fold increase on the average annual for the previous decade when most new consented generation was fossil fuel generated.

There’s also good news on forestry impact. Every year since the scheme took effect the sector has seen a growth in afforestation and a reduction in deforestation. The net increase in forest area has grown from a small positive of 500 hectares in 2009, to 4700 in 2010 and forest survey intentions indicate 5700 hectares this year and 7700 hectares in 2012.

“What this report clearly demonstrates is that support for carbon pricing grows once it is experienced in action,” Mr Connor said.

“Most in business have turned around their opposition and some are grasping the low carbon opportunities to invest, create jobs and create profits while cutting pollution.

“The gloom and doom predictions have begun to melt away.”

He said the report was further proof that pricing carbon can benefit the economy and the environment.

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