Emissions plan will impose unjustifiable costs - Energy Resources Aotearoa

New Zealand’s energy sector is committed to climate action and working constructively with the Government to help it achieve net zero emissions by 2050, but disagrees with the approach outlined in the Emissions Reduction Plan says John Carnegie, Chief Executive of Energy Resources Aotearoa.

"This plan is a poor piece of public policy. It will make it much more expensive for New Zealand to attain its net zero emissions target by 2050.

"The Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan will impose enormous complexity on the energy sector and broader economy, while forcing consumers to pay more at a time when they can least afford it.

"Greater pay for bus drivers might be high on the Government’s list of priorities, but such a policy is completely divorced from the goal of reducing emissions. The Government needs to be held accountable for its spending, rather than shoehorning in all sorts of policies under the guise of climate change.

"The Government has decided in some cases when businesses and households must act and what their choices should be. That will lead to higher costs.

"The climate does not care whether it costs $30 or $300 to prevent a tonne of CO2 equivalent from being emitted to the atmosphere - but consumers, businesses and households do. By trying to pick where emissions should be reduced, at which rate and when, will impose unnecessary and unjustifiable costs upon Kiwi businesses and households," says Carnegie.

Carnegie says that the Emissions Trading Scheme remains the best tool at the Government’s disposal to reduce emissions. Given the total amount of emissions is capped under the ETS, the burden of proof for any policy that will operate under the cap is even higher.

"A simple solution is best when it comes to a complex problem like emissions reduction. The ETS sends simple price signals to everybody in the economy and is doing the heavy lifting to bring net emissions down.

"The complexity of the Emissions Reduction Plan, including the vast number of strategies and plans, means energy producers, distributors and consumers are going to struggle to identify clear signals to inform their decision-making. This complexity will likely lead to higher costs.

"I encourage policymakers to engage closely with our members to identify credible, low-cost decarbonisation options."