Sunday, 31 January 2021

Government fails low carbon test


“It’s clear from the Climate Commission’s draft report that the Government’s poorly thought out climate policies have severely impacted New Zealand’s ability to innovate to decarbonise the economy,” says ACT Climate Change spokesperson Simon Court.                         

“This has left the Climate Commission and the Government with few options beyond massive public sector spending and more onerous regulations on our most successful businesses to reach emissions reduction targets.

“The Commission clearly states this will impact thousands of jobs and our overall standard of living.

“Government policies, such as achieving 100 per cent renewable electricity, have been slated by the Climate Commission in today’s report.

“They are the latest in a long list of advisors to say the policy would incur huge costs and produce little benefit to the environment.

“The report also recommends a transition for large energy users like the dairy industry away from coal, but since the Government announced a ban on new natural gas exploration there has been a 40 per cent increase in the amount of coal burnt over the past two years.

“Industry and electricity generators believe it is likely for these high levels of coal use to remain and even increase further until at least 2030.

“Because the Government has limited future access to natural gas, any transition to a low carbon future will be much more expensive in the short term, compared to our trading partners and neighbours.

“Also, today’s Government announcement of a ban on new petrol vehicles from 2032 will do nothing to reduce emissions in the current commitment period, so is simply another political stunt.

“The major risk that the Commission has identified in its report is that the cost of decarbonising the economy will increase at least three times the rate currently assumed by business.

“The Commission admits that the cost will rise from around $40 per tonne of carbon now under the Emissions Trading Scheme to around $150 per tonne by 2030.

“The assumed costs are effectively three times what our trading partners in the EU and United States are paying to offset carbon emissions.

“That alone must send a warning to investors and business, and puts New Zealand jobs at risk.

“Debt funded and ineffective Government spending to reduce emissions will simply displace long planned private sector investment, and not reduce a single tonne of carbon that would not otherwise be delivered by business and industry.

“The six week consultation period starting today is an opportunity for New Zealand innovators and businesses to set out an alternative and cost effective plan to reach the 2030 emissions reduction targets. 

“ACT believes the Government now has a choice – either listen to those businesses with skin in the game, and technology to deliver emissions reductions, or continue with its costly and ineffective debt funded climate policies.

“ACT will continue to advocate for the lowest cost and most effective innovations to meet our emissions reduction targets, and to hold the Government to account for past decisions which have clearly failed the low carbon test.”

ENDS