According to Greenaironline, the NZ ETS is the “first major carbon emissions trading scheme to affect airlines”. It does so by imposing a requirement to purchase carbon credits on companies which import or remove fuel at more than 50,000 litres a year from NZ refineries. Those fuels include aviation gas.
The scheme mainly hits domestic airlines. It does not affect international flights fueled outside NZ. However, purchasers of more than 10 million litres of aviation fuel per annum can choose to opt into the scheme. Air NZ has elected to do so. This has been described as a hedging opportunity against future carbon prices or a branding exercise or both.
The scheme is “expected to add around three New Zealand cents (two US cents) to a litre of jet fuel.” Air NZ expects to face, in the first 30-month transition phase of the scheme, “an additional NZ$6 million ($4.16m) cost on its domestic jet fuel consumption” and has notified customers that domestic air fares might see a NZ$1 to $2 fare rise.
Although modest in scope, it is significant that in a small country, far removed from much of the world and highly dependent on air travel, the first charges of airline travel explictly related to climate change have now been imposed.
NZ under its National-led coalition government had severely trimmed the emissions trading scheme developed under the previous Labour-led coalition last government, and did so on the basis that it should be a follower and not a leader. But on this matter the lead appears to have been taken.
So it is a matter for modest celebration. Just how modest can be gauged from other news which shows a bad situation getting rapidly worse, including ominous signs that extreme weather events are on a serious upswing. Perhaps most alarming have been the record smashing temperatures across Africa:
“Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Chad, Niger, Pakistan, and Myanmar have all set new records for their hottest temperatures of all time over the past six weeks. The remarkable heat continued over Africa and Asia late this week. The Asian portion of Russia recorded its highest temperate in history yesterday, when the mercury hit 42.3°C (108.1°F) at Belogorsk, near the Amur River border with China. The previous record was 41.7°C (107.1°F) at nearby Aksha on July 21, 2004. (The record for European Russia is 43.8°C–110.8°F–set on August 6, 1940, at Alexandrov Gaj near the border with Kazakhstan.) Also, on Thursday, Sudan recorded its hottest temperature in its history when the mercury rose to 49.6°C (121.3°F) at Dongola. The previous record was 49.5°C (121.1°F) set in July 1987 in Aba Hamed.We’ve now had eight countries in Asia and Africa, plus the Asian portion of Russia, that have beaten their all-time hottest temperature record during the past two months. This includes Asia’s hottest temperature of all-time, the astonishing 53.5°C (128.3°F) mark set on May 26 in Pakistan.”