Monday, May 10, 2021

Climate Change: "Least cost" means "do nothing"

The National Party is trying to sabotage the struggle against climate change again, with a bill in the member's ballot to force the Climate Change Commission to allow our domestic targets and international commitments to be met with "offshore mitigation". What does "offshore mitigation" mean? From past experience, it means Russian fraud and a flood of fake "credits", allowing polluters to do nothing to reduce emissions.

Of course the National Party will claim not to want that, oh no. This is about allowing polluters to "fulfil their emissions reduction obligations at least cost". But in practice, that also means less action, and higher emissions. Why? Because the whole idea of a price on carbon is built on the idea that high prices are an incentive to reduce emissions, either by investing in cleaner technology or just by stopping pollution because it is uneconomic. Any reduction in carbon prices lowers that incentive - and in particular, lowers the incentive to invest in doing things cleaner. In practical terms: lower carbon prices means fewer wind farms and solar panels, fewer electric cars and hydrogen or biodiesel trucks, fewer factories using electricity rather than dirty coal to provide low-level process heat, and fewer trees to soak up carbon and lock it away in the biosphere. Instead it means more coal, more gas, more planes, more utes, more inefficiency, so polluters can keep profiting by slowly killing us all. And if the National Party is in favour of that, then they are enemies of humanity, and we need to vote them out of Parliament completely to stop from inflicting any more damage on us.