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Price pressure will change our energy use

Jul 2nd, 2010 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News


WIND POWER: The ETS is billed as fostering better choices for the environment.

CHARGING for emissions is just like taxing cigarettes.

That was the comparison made by Environment Minister Nick Smith, who presented a public meeting on the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) in Wellington.

From yesterday (July 1) the transport, energy and industrial sectors have joined the ETS and households should expect fuel and electricity prices to increase.

Dr Smith told Wednesday’s meeting that putting a price on greenhouse gases would result in a significant change in people’s behaviour, much like increasing tax on cigarettes.

The ETNick-Smith-2009S provides real incentive for people to make environmentally friendly choices and reduce their energy use, thus offsetting the impact of price increases, he says.

The Ministry for the Environment estimates these increases will cost the average household $165 a year.

At the meeting, held at the Duxton Hotel and attended by about 80 people, Molly Melhuish spoke on behalf of local Grey Power members. She said people on a fixed income do not have the wherewithal to invest in home insulation, solar heating or electric cars, and need more support.

Geoff Keey, political advisor for Greenpeace New Zealand, said he was concerned the agricultural sector would not fully enter the scheme until 2015 but produces 48% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Dr Smith stressed the importance of the agricultural industry to New Zealand and said he would not rule out using a different approach altogether.

He says he has noticed, during public consultation on the ETS, that the older generation feels the Government is doing too much, and the younger generation feels it should do even more. He says that leads him to believe the balance is about right.

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