New Zealand: The ETS is on life support - Forest owners

14 April 2014

New Zealand has met its Kyoto obligations by a whisker, but it has little to do with the ETS, say forest owners.

"From 2008 to 2012 the country’s 25 per cent increase in carbon emissions was masked by carbon stored in forests planted in the 1990s. As these trees are harvested, forestry will move from being a carbon sink to being a carbon source," says Forest Owners Association chief executive David Rhodes.

"At that point New Zealand’s environmental credentials will be delivered a double whammy. Our steady increases in gross emissions will no longer be masked by forestry and indeed, forestry emissions will add to the negative ledger."

Mr Rhodes says the government is portraying the ETS as a success because the Crown had a surplus of credits at the end of 2012. But that has little or nothing to with the ETS. It’s all due to a boom in forest planting in the 1990s. Since then we have moved to net deforestation, a trend that appears to be gathering pace."

In its report to the United Nations Climate Change Convention in December last year, the government predicted the line from carbon sink to carbon source would be crossed in 2017.

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