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New Zealand Journal of Forestry (2013) 58(2): 35–39
©New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Refereed article
The New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme - What has gone wrong and what might we achieve?

Euan Mason 1

1 Associate Professor, New Zealand School of Forestry, Canterbury University

New Zealand’s initial attempt to help mitigate the problem of climate change is moribund, so why is this? The Kyoto Protocol, which we ratified in 1997, bound us to keep our net emissions at 1990 gross emission levels between 2008 and 2012, but also tied us to particular patterns of thinking about greenhouse gases. Not all of these patterns are rational, nor are they all helpful. Nonetheless, with a rather unique emissions profile for a ‘first world’ nation, we could offer the world valuable solutions for developing nations if only we would accept the opportunity. Forestry could easily make us fully greenhouse gas neutral while solving erosion problems and improving profitability of our hill country farms. However, for this we need a rational approach to emissions trading and commitment. This article outlines some of the main modes of thinking introduced by the Kyoto Protocol, highlights where we are going wrong with emissions trading, and shows how forestry could be at the heart of solutions to this global problem.
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