Friday, 18 September 2009
by David Colyer UNITYblog editor Outrage has greeted the deal reached between the National and Maori Parties over the pollution market policy (emissions trading scheme or ETS). But the really terrible thing is not the Maori Party’s sell out, or the details of the deal -- and both these are horrible -- it’s the fact that a pollution market is only response to climate change any party in parliament can come up with. Just as bad (or even worse) is that the major environmental groups campaigning for action on climate change -- Greenpeace and 350 -- are also putting their faith in the pollution market approach. They should be blowing the lid on the world-wide pollution market con-job. Because, although the details of the National-Maori Party version may be worse than the Labour-Green version, which ever way you look at it, emissions trading stinks. It won’t do a thing to reduce pollution or prevent climate change. All pollution markets are based around giving corporate polluters the right to pollute, the right to profit from buying and selling pollution credits and the right to pass any costs they do incur on to their customers. All assume that rather than actually cutting emissions, or fundamentally changing they way they do things (this would hurt profits too much) polluting industries will be able to buy “off set” credits from somewhere else (who knows where?). All these schemes ignore the fact that to transition to a low carbon economy will require a massive transformation of how we do just about everything. And this will require planning and co-ordination and should require democratic participation, not rising prices and blind faith in the market. Recognising the reality of pollution market politics, begs the question: is the Maori Party’s support for National’s ETS any worse than the Green’s support for Labour’s ETS? After all, climate change is the issue the Greens should be making a stand and giving leadership. In my view, neither Labour nor the Greens have any right to criticise the Maori Party until they themselves oppose pollution market madness.