Our emissions trading scheme is complicated. Here are the basics:

  • The scheme is aimed at industries with big carbon footprints. Most firms in these industries are included in the ETS. (See Who’s in the ETS.)
  • The ETS starts in July 2010 for energy, liquid fossil fuels and industry. There’s a transition period (to 31 December 2012) during which some aspects of the scheme are suspended.
  • Each year firms in the scheme will have to “surrender” carbon units to the government to cover their greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon units can be bought but many firms will be given a free allocation of some of the units they’ll need. (See Who gets what and Carbon capture.)
  • Forestry firms are on the other side of the ledger. They can “earn” carbon units while their trees are growing but have to pay these back when the trees are logged. Forestry has been part of the scheme since 1 January 2008.
  • During the transition period, firms will only have to “surrender” one carbon unit for every two tonnes of greenhouse gases emitted – just 50 percent of their emissions. The government has also capped the price of carbon units until 2012 at $25; the 50 percent surrender obligation makes the effective price $12.50 per unit.
Join now

Get full access to all Consumer reports for as little as $1.85 a week

  • Over 500 reports plus interactive tools and calculators
  • Independent advice from NZ's trusted source of information
  • Join over 65,000 members who help us get all NZers a fairer deal

Join Consumer now and make your decisions easy on a huge range of products and services

  • Over 500 reports, plus interactive tools and calculators
  • Independent advice from NZ's trusted source of information
  • Join over 65,000 members who help us get all NZers a fairer deal

from just $28

Join now
Read what our members say