New report highlights ‘the most important climate policy you’ve never heard of’

A new report from Energy Resources Aotearoa is highlighting a fundamental change to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) which makes nearly every other climate policy redundant.

“The ETS now has a cap on total emissions allowed. This is great news, but it means that other policies like subsidies for e-vehicles cannot lower our total emissions – only shuffle around where they occur,” says chief executive John Carnegie.

“If fewer people drive petrol-powered vehicles, then emissions units are freed up which will then be taken by other users, such as factories.

“This is known as the ‘waterbed effect’, because pushing down in one area means emissions pop up in other areas. ‘Whack a mole’ is another good analogy.

“The Government deserves credit for this cap, because total net emissions are the only thing that matters to the climate.

“However, it means that every climate policy – both present and future - has to be re-assessed to check if they actually lower our total net emissions.

“For example, subsidies to private companies to replace their heating and campaigns to encourage walking and cycling cannot lower our total emissions – only shuffle them around inside the cap.”

The full paper is available here.