Climate Commission still proposing unnecessary costs for New Zealanders

The Climate Change Commission’s final advice is still proposing a more expensive, difficult and ineffective pathway than we need to reach net zero emissions, according to Energy Resources Aotearoa.

“We all support the end goal but deliberately avoiding a ‘least cost approach’ means unnecessary costs for families and businesses, destroying jobs and wellbeing in our communities,” says chief executive John Carnegie.

“It’s pain for no real gain, given the end result for net emissions is the same.

“The Commission is still focussing on gross emissions instead of net emissions. This means stopping emissions at their source, and under-using crucial tools such as planting trees and international units to offset emissions.

“It makes sense to offset emissions in difficult areas like air travel and producing steel for buildings, rather than trying to eliminate or replace them at great cost. Planting trees or using international credits may well be a temporary solution, but it gives us valuable time to develop new technologies and solutions.

“The good news is increased recognition for the importance of natural gas in keeping electricity prices down, and for the role of Methanex which underpins the gas market. It’s pleasing to see the Commission recognising we need continued investment into offshore and onshore natural gas fields.

“Our current energy problems should be a wake-up call for the importance of natural gas. Right now we are burning record amounts of imported coal, industries are cutting back production and electricity prices are rising. More locally produced natural gas would help create the smoother transition we all want.

“It’s pleasing to see a firm date for ending new gas connections has been abandoned and the Commission is now open to using gas infrastructure for new, lower emission gases.

“But the lack of faith in the ETS is disappointing, given it is the most efficient and cost-effective way of reducing emissions. Instead of trusting the ETS to put a price on emissions and letting people make their own decisions, the Commission is still taking too much of a central-planning paternalistic approach.”

Energy Resources is also disappointed at the Commission’s use of the term ‘fossil gas’.

“This is highly unprofessional and undermines the credibility and integrity of the Commission. There is no need for this given ‘natural gas’ is the official term, widely understood and clearly different from hydrogen and bio-gases.”