Bans are not the way to transition

Efforts to phase out coal and natural gas announced by the Government today are a blow to New Zealand’s energy security and well-being, according to Energy Resources Aotearoa.

“Right now we are seeing major industries cutting back production because of high energy prices, due in part to a temporary tight supply of natural gas,” says chief executive John Carnegie.

“Today’s announcement will only make that worse and undermine investment confidence. Without investment into ensuring supply, energy costs will rise even higher and threaten jobs.

“The Climate Change Commission is clear that we’ll need natural gas until at least 2050 to support renewable electricity and keep prices down. However, there is a risk that if we undermine the local industry we’ll end up reliant on imported coal or LNG instead.

“There is no need for heavy-handed interventions when we already have an ETS with a cap on total emissions.

“This means that additional policies like bans or subsidies are effectively useless because of the ‘waterbed effect’. Pushing down on one area means emissions will just pop up and be slightly higher in another area.

“This is why the focus needs to be on reducing emissions through the ETS rather than getting rid of specific fuel types.

“It also undermines the relevance of the Climate Change Commission who have only just received submissions on their draft proposals on the same issue, and MBIE has separately consulted on this topic.

“We’d like to work with the Government on an Energy Accord. As proposed in our submission to the Climate Change Commission, this could be a joint commitment to work together on lowering emissions and ensuring a sustainable and prosperous energy resources sector.”