Common Grace Aotearoa are calling for an end to free carbon credits and a new Carbon Border Mechanism to decarbonise Aotearoa’s emissions intensive industries like concrete, steel and aluminium.
Following a law change that tightened up the overallocation of free credits earlier this month, the coalition of Common Grace Aotearoa, the New Zealand Green Building Council, Engineers for Sustainable Development and Generation Zero, want to see political parties commit to getting rid of the system of free carbon credits altogether.
Bishop Justin Duckworth backed the campaign as a vital way to care for Creation in this part of the world.
“It’s crazy that some of our most polluting industries are subsidised when everyday New Zealanders are paying their share during a cost of living crisis. We need to all take responsibility for our emissions."
”These asks make sure we are all shouldering the cost of transitioning to a more sustainable future, while providing a hopeful future for workers who are in industries that desperately need to change."
Founded by Wellington Anglicans Kate Day and Alex Johnston, Common Grace Aotearoa is a Christian NGO that is seeking to equip and organise Christians across Aotearoa to transform unjust structures for the common good, focusing on climate, economic and Te Tiriti justice. It is supported in the Wellington Diocese by the Bishop's Community Development Trust.
At the launch, Alex spoke alongside Parents For Climate Aotearoa's Alicia Hall, and the New Zealand Green Building Council CEO Andrew Eagles and talked about how subsidising pollution in a climate crisis just doesn’t make sense.
“When we all play our part in cutting climate pollution, then we can get further to meeting our targets together, and faster. But as cyclones and floods devastate communities across Aotearoa, the people in government are incentivising large multinationals to continue business as usual. This doesn't reflect the invitation we all have to do our bit to reduce harm to God's creation,” said Alex.
“We are inviting all parties committed to action on climate change this election to say a government they are in will stop subsidising pollution.”
The 'Don’t Subsidise Pollution' coalition is calling for free credits to be gone by 2030, and to replace them with a Carbon Border Mechanism, an environmental tariff like that the European Union is phasing in from October. This would equalise the costs of importing more carbon intensive products from overseas to ensure an equal playing field.
The coalition also wants to see government help maintain demand for domestically produced cement, steel and wood through green infrastructure investment via public procurement or a Ministry of Green Works. This, together with upfront loans that contribute to the cost of businesses to decarbonise their production process would help make sure most industries currently getting free credits aren’t outcompeted overseas even as they face the full cost of their emissions.
“Under current legislation, these companies will still be getting free carbon credits for decades to come, even after the whole country is meant to be at net zero emissions. Meanwhile, everyday households play their part by paying the carbon price in our petrol and electricity bills."
Common Grace Aotearoa report that recent announcement of NZ Steel’s decarbonisation plans with support from government, shows that our industries can transition, and that free carbon credits are no longer needed.
“If any subsidies should be put in place in the transition to a zero carbon future, it should be to support the transition of industries, not prop up their pollution. We need to end free carbon credits to cut pollution faster and unlock green jobs for Aotearoa’s industrial future.” said Alex.
To support the 'Don’t Subsidise Pollution' campaign and learn more:
– sign and share the petition at bit.ly/dontsubsidisepollution
– visit the campaign website to learn more at www.endfreecredits.nz, and follow it on facebook
– To get involved and help asking political candidates questions about the campaign during election season, contact Alex at email@example.com