26 Jul 2012

Foresters want protection against cheap carbon credits

2:00 pm on 26 July 2012

New Zealand foresters are calling for protection from cheap carbon credits flooding in from overseas.

Carbon prices have plunged to record lows, undermining their purpose of improving the environment.

Under emissions trading systems, companies have to buy carbon or emissions credits to compensate for the emission of greenhouse gases during the production of goods.

However, an economic battering in Europe has caused industrial production to slide, reducing carbon dioxide emissions and, in turn, the price of credits.

The Forest Owners Association says New Zealand is not immune from events in Europe, but some things can be done to reduce the impact on the carbon market in this country.

Chief executive David Rhodes says that could include requiring New Zealand companies to buy credits for emissions generated in New Zealand, rather than picking up cheap credits from overseas and continuing to pollute at low cost.

However, forest owners say the Government decided some time ago to allow free movement of credits and the cost of this is now becoming apparent.