Gareth notes that Nick Smith has confirmed that agriculture will be unlikely to enter the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme.
"Hon Dr Nick Smith... explained the recent decision to indefinitely delay bringing agriculture into the scheme, stating the technology to do so practically does not yet exist"
Nick Smith yet again gets away with a soundbite of spin that is contradicted by the orthodox economic rationale for having an all-sectors all-units and all-gases international emissions trading scheme for greenhouse gases.
Just for the sake of argument, let's ignore the Sustainability Council's work on agricultural emissions reduction and assume that Dr Smith is correct that there are no practical technologies that will enable the agricultural sector to reduce emissions.
Let's go back to basics. Why do we even have emissions trading including all greenhouse gases across all sectors and across national borders?
The whole point is so that 'cheaper emissions reductions' can, in the short to medium term, largely carry the can for 'expensive emissions reductions', in meeting emissions limits or caps.
In economics speak, a sector of an economy with 'expensive emissions reductions' options is more or less just the same as a sector without practical technologies to enable reductions of emissions. Agriculture, for example, according to Nick Smith!
To paraphrase from another Nick, Lord Stern, in a well-functioning "deep and liquid" market for emissions permits, emitters with expensive mitigation options become buyers of permits and purchase permits from emitters with cheaper mitigation.
The role of the all-gases ETS, is to provide a wider variety of cheaper markets for emissions reductions, than would be the case in a single-gas ETS (such as a ruminant methane ETS, if there was one).
So the role of the emitting industries with fewer mitigation options (or more costly options) is to provide a flow of funds to reward those industries that have the cheaper emissions reduction options!
Logically, the lack of immediate practical mitigation technology in any one sector, is not a valid reason for leaving a sector out of an all-gases ETS.