NZ announces review of carbon trading scheme

Thu Dec 23, 2010 3:30am GMT

By David Fogarty

SINGAPORE Dec 23 (Reuters) - The world's only national carbon trading scheme outside the European Union will be reviewed in 2011, New Zealand's government said on Thursday, with a key focus on what other nations are doing to fight climate change.

The government released the terms of reference for the review, mandated under legislation, for the scheme that covers about half the country's greenhouse gas emissions during its first phase that runs until the start of 2013.

A government statement said key areas for the review would be how to change the scheme's design to match any possible new global deal to fight climate change, whether to ramp up the scheme and to include new sectors.

The review panel would also look at whether to include powerful synthetic greenhouse gases produced by industry.

(For a factbox on the main points of the scheme, click on [ID:nSGE6600L6])

The government has faced criticism from some business groups, particularly agriculture, saying the scheme should not be ramped up when competitors, such as the United States and neighbouring Australia, have failed to put a price on carbon.

Australia shelved its emissions trading scheme (ETS) in April after fierce political opposition blocked its passage through parliament. The government is now reviewing how best to price carbon, either through a tax, a limited emissions trading scheme or a hybrid and has pledged to make a decision next year.

"All the international evidence confirms that pricing emissions is the most efficient way of addressing climate change," New Zealand's Climate Change Minister Nick Smith said in a statement.   Continued...

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