Emissions trading is effective and affordable

  • David Parker
Climate Change Issues

A summary of economic modelling shows emissions trading is an effective approach to reducing New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions in the long term, Climate Change Minister David Parker says.

 The report summarises general equilibrium modelling undertaken by Infometrics for the government’s Emissions Trading Group and the Climate Change Leadership Forum since October 2007.

 “As we stated last October, the impact of New Zealand meeting its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol on gross domestic product is easily manageable.”

 “This report shows that the economy will still grow and New Zealanders will continue to get wealthier.  New Zealanders' private consumption per capita is forecast to expand by 54 percent by 2025.  With an emissions trading scheme, private consumption per capita is forecast to grow by 51 percent instead,” Mr Parker said.

 “It is important to remember that the emissions trading scheme does not cause a loss in economic welfare.  Any loss in economic welfare is caused by the nature of the international commitments New Zealand faces and the emissions trading scheme is an effective way of managing those commitments. It is a significantly more effective way of managing our commitments than having no domestic carbon price and the government buying overseas the emission units we need, paid for by higher income taxes.

 “In addition, the modelling suggests that the vast majority of industries participating in the emissions trading scheme will grow strongly between now and 2025. This includes oil refining, electricity production, and meat and dairy processing.”

 “What the modelling doesn’t do is look at the risks of not honouring our commitments, for example, the economic impact of  countries in the European emissions trading scheme imposing duties on our exports,” David Parker said.

 “Any structural change to the economy comes with adjustment costs and the government is designing the emissions trading scheme in ways that minimise and fairly share these costs. In particular, the government is determined to protect New Zealand’s international competitiveness, household incomes and the environment.

 “It is never possible to model all the costs and benefits of any major reform such as an emissions trading scheme. However, the government will closely monitor progress and act to moderate any unforeseen impacts,” David Parker said.

 The full report is available here: