Ensuring ‘just transition’ essential for climate policies

When translating the Climate Change Commission’s blueprint for addressing climate change into policy, a crucial step towards a low carbon economy will be ensuring a just transition, the co-director of Otago’s Climate Change Research Network says.

When the commission’s advice package was published this week, central to the advice was that delaying action would cost the country more than taking action now.

Nevertheless, the changes signalled in its advice could drop New Zealand’s Gross Domestic Product by 1.2% by 2050, rather than 2.3% if the country did nothing.

Small businesses that worked closely with hard-to-abate sectors could end up ‘‘particularly impacted’’ by the emissions budgets the commission produced, the advice said.

As soon as the advice was released, tensions emerged.

In one instance, Federated Farmers national president Andrew Hoggard said to expect landowners to make land-use changes based on ‘‘the weight of regulation’’ they faced rather than market forces was unreliable and unlikely to deliver lasting improvements.

Greenpeace climate change campaigner Amanda Larsson said the commission’s final advice seemed more about ‘‘placating big dairy’’ than doing what was scientifically necessary to avoid the climate crisis.

Associate Prof Sara Walton, of the Otago Business School, said the right policy mix had long been deemed important to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Policy changes needed to happen robustly, to avoid unintended consequences, and quickly, to reach its targets.

‘‘A just transition is essential for there to be a transition at all,’’ she said.

Stimulating investment and innovation was important for many small businesses that lacked resources.

hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz

Comments

The huge numbers of incredibly wasteful and polluting cruise ships would be a great start. Then let's have a look at all the unnessessary air travel.
We can't just prattle on about EV's, coal fires and cow farts without also addressing the elephant in the room, namely, the huge waste of resources and enviromental damage done by frivolant global travel. If climate change is to be taken seriously, it's time to take a look at what is important to us. Asking people to give up their petrol powered cars for push bikes and very expensive resourse consuming EV's while the cruise ships roll in is not a great advertisement for sustainability is it? In fact, even the pushbikes have become very expensive!
All you students that protest on the train lines, let's see the same commitment at the airport, Port Chalmers and the Octagon when the 'petri dish' cruise ships and planes loaded with tourists roll in next year.

You are quite right Buzz. However the government specifically excluded the Climate Commission from including international transport in their recommendations and ensured that methane emissions are counted separately so that animal ag can continue without dramatic changes. The commission were not tasked by the government to find the best way to mitigate climate change but to make recommendations on how to reach our global commitments with as little impact as possible on our national economy - unfortunately the two things are very different.
As far as protests are concerned Extinction Rebellion have protested against the new proposed airports being built and while I do not know of any groups planning to protest against cruise ships when they start again, I will happily come along with a few friends should you choose to organise one. Cheers.

 

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