We need to stop the Climate Commission’s radical plan
I’m writing with some urgency. At the end of next week, submissions close for the draft recommendations of the Climate Change Commission – recommendations that the Government has signalled it will simply adopt.
I'm not going to sugar coat this. The media haven't been doing their job and instead of critically reviewing what is the most radical reforms to our economy since the Douglas-Lange era, they're blindly cheering it along.
Here's the how the Climate Change Commission Chair Dr Rod Carr has put it:
The transformation that New Zealand will confront in the decade ahead… is going to be on a scale that will rival the transformation from our controlled and regulated economy in the 1970s through to the early 1990s. It will be on a scale of the demilitarisation after the second world war. It will be on a scale equal to getting ourselves out of the great depression of the late 1920s. And I would guess it might rival the sum of all those parts…
The Commissioner plans to up-end our economy with central planning, forcing costly regulations on New Zealanders in an attempt to change the way we live and the entire shape of the economy.
Here’s just a taste of what the Commission’s plan involves:
• Ban imports of light petrol and diesel vehicles from 2032.
• Cull dairy, sheep and beef numbers by 15% by 2030.
• Reshape cities so that we walk 25% more, cycle 95% more, and take public transport 120% more by 2030.
• Subsidise electric vehicles further.
• Ban new coal boilers.
• Ban all coal generation, regardless of security of supply.
• Ban new natural gas connections.
• Ban gas BBQs.
• Require new and replacement heating systems to be electric or bioenergy, not gas.
These measures may seem unrealistic – but with the Government having publicly committed to implement whatever the Commission recommends, we need to blow the whistle now before it is too late.
And here's the thing: according to the Commission’s own analysis, this plan isn’t even necessary. New Zealand is already on track to meet its “net zero carbon” target using existing tools i.e. the existing Emissions Trading Scheme.
The waterbed effect
In fact, the proposed regulations will do nothing to reduce our overall emissions. This is because of the way the ETS works: emissions are already capped and paid for. This means that when the Government goes beyond the ETS and uses regulations to push down emissions in parts of the economy covered by cap and trade, it just frees up credits for people to increase emissions in other parts of the economy – it’s what climate economists call the “waterbed effect”.
Here's just one example: recently James Shaw announced the Ministry of Education will spend $50 million to replace or convert 90 coal boilers in schools. According to the government this will reduce emissions by 33,000 tonnes – that is reducing emissions at $1,515 per tonne. By comparison, the ETS can remove one tonne of emissions for $39, a nearly 40-fold performance gap!
And because coal is already in the ETS, the waterbed effect means replacing the school boilers will see emissions raise somewhere else. There is absolutely no gain for the climate.
If you listen to one thing this weekend, make sure it's this podcast
Yesterday I sat down with New Zealand Initiative Executive Director Oliver Hartwich. A trigger warning: what you will hear will make you angry.
Dr Hartwich explains the dangerous folly of the Climate Change Commission’s plan – and how they’ve refused to show their working on how much it will cost New Zealand families. Click here to listen to the podcast.
We've got to raise the alarm, and we don't have long to do it
We’ve come to this issue late because it’s taken time to wrap our heads around the Commissioner’s 800 pages of draft recommendations. But we’ve now prepared a submission that, quite frankly, I think destroys the Commission’s arguments. If you’ve got some time over the weekend, I strongly encourage you to read our draft submission here.
Regardless, we need your help now to ensure the consultation process isn’t swamped by special interest groups like Greenpeace and Generation Zero, who never saw an expensive eco-regulation or tax they didn’t like.
It only takes 30 seconds.
Thank you for your support,