Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Even with a pandemic, we cannot afford to press 'pause' on climate action

Photo by Jan Kaluza on Unsplash
Catherine Leining is a Policy Fellow at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research and a New Zealand Climate Change Commissioner.

On 4 May 2020, as Parliament was emerging from lock down, so too did the Environment Committee’s report on the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Bill. This Bill deserves close attention, as the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) has a critical role to play in post-pandemic recovery.

The most crucial features of the Bill remain the same: to add a cap to our cap-and-trade system; to guard against extreme emission prices; to improve incentives for new forests; and to prepare the way for pricing agricultural emissions.

Friday, 1 May 2020

Illuminating carbon market dynamics using the NZ ETS Cap Explorer Tool

By Ruth Copeland, Communications Director, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research

With the Environment Select Committee due to report back on the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Bill, perhaps this is a timely reminder to have a good look at the NZ ETS Cap Explorer Tool released last year by Motu. The government plans to improve the current ETS by introducing a ‘cap’ on emissions covered by the scheme. This cap will reduce over time to help us meet our emission reduction targets.



The tool is designed to highlight complex ETS dynamics using data derived from the modelling of hypothetical scenarios. If you adjust the parameters within the various scenarios, you can easily investigate the effect on emission levels and prices.

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

What a small country’s successes and mistakes can teach us about emission pricing

By Suzi Kerr, Chief Economist at Environmental Defense Fund. First published at EDF's blog.

I’m from Aotearoa, New Zealand, and I really love its land and people, but I am fully aware that from a global perspective it appears pretty insignificant – that’s actually one of its charms.  But being small doesn’t mean you can’t make big contributions including toward stabilizing the climate. This recently published article highlights some lessons New Zealand’s experience with emissions trading can offer other Emissions Trading System (ETS) designers at a time when effective climate action is ever more urgent.

Talking intensively to ETS practitioners and experts around the globe about their diverse choices and the reasons why they made them has made me acutely aware of the need to tailor every ETS to local conditions.  In a complex, heterogeneous world facing an existential crisis, diversity in climate policy design makes us stronger and frankly, improves the odds that the young people we love will live in a world where they can thrive.

Friday, 17 January 2020

Social Cost of Carbon: final big questions (with help from the birds)

Photo by Francesco Veronesi on Flickr cc by 2.0
by Bronwyn Bruce-Brand, Research Analyst at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research

This is the final in a series of three posts answering key questions about the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC). To help keep you interested, I have inserted some egg-cellent ideas about how we might get SCC to soar.

Ma ngā huruhuru ka rere te manu: It is the feathers that enable the bird to fly.

Friday, 10 January 2020

Social Cost of Carbon: two further questions (with more help from New Zealand’s native wildlife)

Photo by Department of Conservation on Flickr cc by 2.0
by Bronwyn Bruce-Brand, Research Analyst at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research

This is post two in a series of three posts answering key questions about the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC). In the interests of getting you to the end of this article, I have included some bird breaks (hopefully these won't get too squawkward).

Friday, 3 January 2020

Social Cost of Carbon: Two of six big questions (with a little help from New Zealand’s native wildlife)

by Bronwyn Bruce-Brand, Research Analyst at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research

Nobel Prize Laureate and environmental economist William Nordhaus calls the social cost of carbon (SCC) “the most important single economic concept in the economics of climate change” and it’s a requirement for all US federal environmental regulation analysis.1 So, what is the SCC and how does it work?

Photo by southstar on flickr cc by 2.0
This series of posts answers the first two in a series of six key questions about the SCC with the help of some of New Zealand’s most beautiful native birdlife. As an economist who works with climate change policy, I still find the technicalities of the SCC and how it fits with regulation, environmental science and predictions of the future fly over my head sometimes. So, in the interests of getting you to the end of this article without rage-quitting or falling asleep, I have included some bird breaks, with fun facts and a few puns about some of our most loveable feathery friends. Other than that, I’ll just wing it (not sorry).