The climate crisis deserves more than small change in New Zealand’s budget | Robert McLachlan and Paul Callister

The New Zealand emissions trading scheme (ETS), now in its fourteenth year of operation and much criticised for (so far) failing to cut emissions, is the centrepiece of the government’s climate action. Judging from Budget 2021, it will remain that way for years to come.

Auctioning of emissions units began in March, and 2022 will see the introduction of a falling cap on net emissions of long-lived greenhouse gases. (The precise level of the cap will be announced later in the year.)

If the level of allowed emissions is low enough, ideally low enough to fulfil the country’s obligations under the Paris Agreement, the carbon price could rise substantially. A key budget announcement is that all revenues from the auction – $3bn over five years, according to minister for climate change…

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