By John Armstrong

NZ Herald

New Zealand's failure to cut greenhouse gas emissions has left taxpayers staring down the barrel of a Kyoto Protocol liability of at least $1 billion and possibly more than $5 billion, according to a book analysing National's emissions trading system.

The authors of The Carbon Challenge - Victoria University researcher and economist Geoff Bertram and climate-change analyst and researcher Simon Terry - also describe the Government's current ETS as "technically obsolete" and "beyond rescue" as a sustainable framework for tackling climate change.

They say the scheme will not make any inroads into cutting New Zealand's gross emissions levels.

On top of that, the ETS was so unfair in the way it distributed benefits to high emitters with political influence, while placing a regressive quasi-tax burden on households, that there was a risk it could undermine the public's willingness to support a stronger regime in the future.

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