Friday, 8 June 2018

E-Mission Possible roundtable summaries

by Catherine Leining and Ceridwyn Roberts, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research

The road to a net-zero future is paved with challenging questions for which there are no definitive answers – just choices to be made under uncertainty and consequences to be faced under risk. In order to shed new light on particularly thorny questions for NZ's low-emission transition Motu, Productivity Commission, the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, and the Environmental Defence Society convened a series of roundtables.

We have now completed the summaries from all four E-Mission Possible Roundtables.  We received very positive feedback on all of the roundtables in the series, and want to thank everyone who contributed to their design, funding and implementation.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Budget 2018 and climate change

by Catherine Leining, Policy Fellow at Motu Research

When it comes to the climate change portfolio, Budget 2018 feels like the calm before the storm. It focuses more on policy processes for future action than catalysing action now. Budget allocations will support development of international carbon markets (key to helping New Zealand meet its 2030 target under the Paris Agreement), the Zero Carbon Act, the Climate Change Commission, and amendments to the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS).

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Designing a Climate Commission that works for New Zealand

Catherine Leining from Motu Economic and Public Policy discusses today's release of the Zero Carbon Act Report from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

Climate change has been described by Lord Nicholas Stern as the greatest market failure the world has ever seen, but it could just as validly be described as the greatest governance failure. Short-term election cycles and under-resourced departments are poorly suited for managing risks that accumulate over generations and policies imposing near-term, local costs in return for long-term, globally distributed benefits.

New Zealand’s Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) has released a report that addresses part of the solution: legislating emission reduction targets and establishing an independent Climate Commission. These are both components of the government’s Zero Carbon Act which is under development.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Decoupling New Zealand’s economic growth from GHG emissions

By Catherine Leining, Policy Fellow at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.

Global progress to avoid the worst impacts of climate change depends on our ability to separate economic growth and wellbeing from greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. They cannot continue to increase in lock step. One indicator of progress is our GHG intensity: tonnes of emissions per unit of GDP.

StatsNZ’s first report on New Zealand’s Environmental and Economic Accounts finds evidence this decoupling of our economic growth and emissions is occurring. Over 1990-2015, New Zealand’s economy grew by an average of 3.1% per year while GHG emissions increased 0.9% per year. This means that, over that 25 year period, the economy’s GHG intensity declined by an average of 2.2% per year. That shows progress, but it is not enough.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Approaching a Low-Emission Future: Emission Trading Scheme vs. Command-and-Control Approaches in New Zealand

By Rosemary Irving and Rosa Hill, University of Canterbury 
Rosie and Rosa are undergraduate students. They won the Motu Environment Economics Essay prize in 2017. You can find out more information about Motu's proposal for the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and our wider ETS work.  

Rosie Irving and Rosa Hill
Achieving emission targets can be accomplished through numerous policies; however, some of these policies are more efficient and cost effective than others. Here in New Zealand, we currently run an ETS. Economic rationale supports an ETS policy as being more efficient as opposed to a command-and-control approach for a number of reasons which we will explore in depth below. 

Economic Rationale: How an Emissions Trading Scheme Works

Figure 1: Command-and-control (equal
misery) approach  
 Figure 2: Emissions trading scheme

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

The NZ ETS: Better equipped for the journey – but still unsure of the path

by Catherine Leining, Policy Fellow at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research

Every tramper knows the value of good gear. A well-designed backpack that distributes the weight to the areas of greatest strength can transform the experience of a challenging bushwalk.  

The changes to the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS) announced by the government last month will usefully equip the system for the journey to net-zero domestic emissions. Like a good backpack, they offer a sturdy framework for distributing mitigation responsibilities and costs across the economy. However, we still do not know what route lies ahead, what pace we will set, what provisions will sustain our efforts, and who will carry the heaviest weight.

The government has not altered our path through 2020. What longer-term changes can we expect to see in the NZ ETS?

Monday, 7 August 2017

Vast majority of New Zealanders want action and leadership on climate change.

Guest post from Pure Advantage first posted here.

Following the US announcement that they would withdraw from the Paris Climate Change Agreement, we asked if New Zealand should follow suit. A whopping of 92 percent of Kiwis disagreed, not wanting our country to follow President Trump’s decision. New Zealanders are even more united in their commitment to the Paris Accord than Australians who show 87 percent support.

Last week, Pure Advantage released the results of their Climate Survey which talked to 1000 New Zealanders about their perspectives on New Zealand’s climate policy position. The results show that a vast proportion of New Zealanders have the appetite required to effect change and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.