The Climate Commission should be presenting New Zealand with a range of viable options for emissions reduction with cost analysis included, National’s Climate Change Spokesperson Stuart Smith says.
“Climate Commission Chair Dr Rod Carr’s column on why he is not recommending a least cost pathway fails to answer very basic questions. Not the least, why he isn’t presenting the commission’s findings with transparent costing and decision-making reasoning.
“National agrees the least cost policy isn’t always the best option, but examining least cost options is a standard and responsible way to approach such impactful matters.
“Dr Carr points out that allowing the Emissions Trading Scheme to find the lowest cost emissions reductions would result in a lot of trees being planted and that could result in negative biodiversity, water quality, and social outcomes.
“There is truth to this, but I struggle to see how this one example is an adequate justification to throw-out the ETS altogether. These variables can be easily mitigated.
“Dr Carr and the Climate Change Commission are proposing rather radical measures which will not just have an impact on a governance level. The lives of everyday New Zealanders will be effected and that is not something to be taken lightly.
“We need to ask questions about how each of their recommendations effects people, businesses, and environments, and to challenge ourselves to find solutions which come at least social cost.
“How does it help people to ban petrol vehicles before EVs are affordable? Why ban coal fired boilers before banning gas fired boilers?
“New Zealand now has a cap on overall emissions, if the government bans one thing that creates carbon dioxide it simply means there is more space for something else. It won’t reduce the total amount we emit.
“The beauty of the Emissions Trading Scheme is that it allows people to make choices that work for them. If a family needs a petrol van to take the kids to sport in the weekend, they can do it, so long as they are prepared to pay a little more at the pump.
“The emissions trading scheme will always deliver the emissions reduction target we set ourselves, but it allows people to make choices.
“If we rush to ban things we risk placing huge costs on people for no actual benefit to the climate.
“National would use the emissions trading scheme as our first tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We would only look to use other measures where there is a clear need to do so.”
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