Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Climate change: The cost of National's inaction

How much will National's refusal to act on climate change cost us? $72 billion:

New Zealand could face a $72 billion bill to meet its obligations under the Paris climate change agreement unless there's an effective international carbon market, an official says.

New Zealand ratified the accord two weeks ago, committing to reducing net greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

Ministry for the Environment climate change director Kay Harrison told a conference last week that the cost to New Zealand to meet it its obligations hit $72 billion, or nearly 30 percent of New Zealand's annual GDP.

That amount would cover the period 2021 to 2030.

While MfE is worried about the lack of an international market, even if we have one we're still looking at $36 billion. The real problem here is that National has allowed emissions to rise and rise, while doing nothing to curb them. Instead, they're subsidising pollution and promoting dirty thermal power plants, locking in higher emissions for the forseeable future. This effectively commits us to a huge bill - about 2% of GDP per year for a decade - money that could be better spent elsewhere.

But I guess their plan is that it'll be someone else's problem, and to throw shit at them for trying to clean up the mess they left. Because that's how National operates, on the economy and on the environment.