IPCC Report highlights size of climate challenge

The release of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change report on the Physical Science of Climate Change highlights the importance of sound and efficient climate policy, National’s Climate Change spokesperson Stuart Smith says.

“The IPCC report makes apparent just how hard it will be for New Zealand and the entire world to achieve the level of emissions reductions required to avoid a 1.5 degree rise in temperatures.

“Because we face such a difficult challenge it is more important than ever that Government policy is well thought out, founded in science, and given every chance to succeed.

“The Government failed on all three counts when they pursued the ‘Ute Tax’. Treasury advised against this measure as it was low value and what limited benefits it may have were unclear.

“Subsidising EVs will only reduce road transport emissions by 1-4 per cent (note this is not overall emissions). As National and Treasury have both said, ‘Ute Tax’ isn’t a feasible policy because it is ineffective at reducing emissions effectively and puts the burden on people who need utes and other heavy vehicles.

“Again the Government has failed in producing workable policy by pursuing a 100 per cent renewable electricity target which the Climate Change Commission has advised against as it will increase the price of electricity and increase the chance of blackouts, making it harder for industry and transport to electrify.

“Additionally, because New Zealand has a capped Emissions Trading Scheme, Government car taxes and gas bans don’t actually reduce emissions. They simply mean reductions happen in places other than where they are easiest to address.

“National signed New Zealand up to the Paris Agreement, we recognise that climate change is an urgent and serious issue, and that it will be challenging for New Zealand to achieve our commitments under the Paris Agreement.

“We believe that because our targets are so challenging we should use the best tools available where we can and plot a path of sensible, workable, policies that will be adopted by the wider public.

“National implemented the Emissions Trading Scheme and oversaw an electricity market free from blackouts and where renewable share increased from around 65 per cent to near 85 per cent. This has sadly gone backwards under Labour.

“National is calling on the Government to abandon expensive and pointless policies such as the ‘Ute Tax’ and the 100 percent renewable electricity target and use the existing Emissions Trading Scheme as the primary tool for reducing emissions. We should only supplement the Emissions Trading Scheme with complementary policies where there is strong rationale and independent advice to do so.”