Today I found out that New Zealand established an emissions trading scheme last year (July 2010). This is fantastic news as it shows a first world economy still functioning successfully after the implementation such a system. The NZ scheme incorporates agriculture, industry, energy, liquid fossil fuels, fishing, synthetic gases, forestry, waste and horticulture sectors of their economy and aims to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by putting a price on these emissions. Currently the price for each NZ unit is NZ$25. However, the NZ government only requires one unit be surrendered for every two tonnes of carbon emitted during the transition period, thus effectively pricing each unit at $12.50.
I have heard the level of impact that this system has had on the NZ economy has been almost unrecognisable. There does however, need to be recognition that there have been serious challenges to their economy as a result of the natural disasters that have occurred in their country over the past 12 months. Thus, the level impact that this new trading scheme has had has been potentially dwarfed by these other situations. Nevertheless, it is positive news that such a trading scheme, of similar nature to the proposed carbon tax here in Australia, has been successfully implemented without flattening their economy or causing significant hardships for families and households. Hopefully, this provides some comfort to regular Australians. Further, the NZ system includes fuel (petrol/diesel) in their system, which has been explicitly excluded from the Australian situation, thus further buffering Australian households during our transition period.
Further information about the NZ government's perspective on their emissions trading scheme can be found on their Ministry for the Environment's website.
It is important to note that I looked, not just the positive, but also the negatives that could be associated with the NZ emission trading scheme. I didn't manage to find any significant negative impacts vocalised by reputable sources from a brief review (20 mins) of a couple of Internet search engines. This may be because the scheme is only new and investigations into it haven't been complete. But I definitely thought I would at least find scores of groups/people that were opposed to the scheme prior to its introduction saying 'I told you so', but almost none of this. Hopefully this situation will be the same here in Australia after the introduction of the carbon tax.