Minister seeks to calm carbon markets
Thursday 13 Jul 2023Climate change minister James Shaw is trying to stem the panic in carbon markets over emissions trading scheme reform saying New Zealand governments are "extremely cautious" about retrospective law changes.
However, their main target for the message – forestry owners – are not convinced, saying their investments have lost NZ$5 billion in value since last year and there is no prospect of this being recovered soon due to policy uncertainty.
Carbon prices fell from a high of $88.50 last year after a series of government decisions and announcements. The slide in New Zealand Units (NZUs, which are the equivalent of a tonne of carbon) has accelerated with their value dropping about 40% in the past three weeks, to lows of about $35 at times.
This was due to the release of options to reform the emissions trading scheme (ETS) that included treating NZUs created from forests differently from government NZUs.
The review papers do not rule out these changes having retrospective effect and this, along with uncertainty about ETS settings in general, has caused many of those holding forestry NZUs to sell them into a market that has very few buyers.
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