Setback for Hide on climate study bid

ACT leader Rodney Hide has lost his bid to have a committee studying changes to the emissions trading scheme look at whether global warming is taking place.

But he is claiming victory after National agreed that the committee could look at the accuracy of climate change predictions.

Mr Hide, a minister in Prime Minister John Key's Government, said that opened the door to a broader look at the science of global warming.

"I'm very happy with that because that covers the science. What I'm pleased about is that we're going to have the sceptics [submitting], and there are a lot of them.

"The previous government took it that human-induced climate change was a sort of fact. It isn't a fact, it's a theory the evidence doesn't appear to support."

However, UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne, who will chair the committee, was adamant that the terms of reference did not allow a review of the science of climate change.

"A variety of international bodies have done the ground work. It's not the competence of a parliamentary select committee in New Zealand to go and completely revisit all of that."

His comments indicate Mr Hide's efforts to pursue the sceptics' line will be slapped down.

National agreed to set up the committee as part of the confidence and supply agreement with ACT, which wants the emissions trading scheme scrapped.

The scheme was the previous government's response to reducing greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto protocol.

Under the scheme, polluters with emissions above set levels must buy carbon credits.

The new Government says the scheme is too burdensome, but favours changing it rather than scrapping it, though the committee will consider whether a carbon tax is better.

The committee will also look at the trade implications of New Zealand's response to climate change and study the costs and benefits of various options.

Mr Key wants the committee to report by March so any replacement can be in place by 2010.


The Dominion Post