New Zealand leading the way to a low carbon economy

9 Jul 2010

The trans-Tasman rivalry has recently been taken up a notch, this time on an environmental front, with the introduction of an emissions trading scheme(ETS) in New Zealand late last week.

Climate Change Minister Nick Smith held a series of public meetings to explain the incoming ETS, which is inclusive of transport fuels and electricity, resulting in an increase of three cents per litre for fuel and five percent on electricity as companies pass on the cost of buying carbon to consumers.

Dr Smith acknowledged the ETS was necessary with New Zealand showing a 25 per cent increase in greenhouse gas emissions over 20 years. 

"It's actually about New Zealand starting the path, starting the change to a less carbon intensive economy," Smith said, "The hard truth around climate change is there is no free lunch. If you want to make change, if you want to reduce emissions, then there is going to be a cost."

There are 32 countries worldwide operating under an Emissions Trading Scheme. The UK and most of Europe operate under the European Union Greenhouse Gas Emission Trading System (EU ETS) which came into force on the 1 January 2005. It is the largest cap and trade scheme in the world and has achieved an overall reduction in carbon emissions. Switzerland operates under the Swiss Emissions Trading Scheme and CO2 Tax, and a handful of US States operate under Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) with the remainder in development under various schemes like United States Emissions Trading Scheme.

Other countries also in the development stages of an ETS include Canada, Republic of Korea and Japan. With a large number of first world countries adopting a stance on emission trading, Australian businesses need to start preparing for an inevitable low carbon economy.

Patricia Griffiths, International Trade Manager at VECCI Global, believes Australian businesses can gain from the introduction of the New Zealand ETS in the short term, however need to prepare themselves for a level playing field.

“With the increased cost to New Zealand businesses, Australian exporters will have a distinct advantage initially,” says Griffiths “However, a low carbon economy and structured policy around carbon emissions trading is inevitable domestically, and Australian businesses need to address this to avoid being left behind.”

To find out more information on how your business can begin to reduce its carbon emissions and be ahead of the game visit


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