You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
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.