Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Charting a course toward New Zealand’s low-emission future

by Catherine Leining, Policy Fellow, Suzi Kerr, Senior Fellow, and Ceridwyn Roberts, Communications Director, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.

When Captain Cook set out to observe the Transit of Venus in the South Pacific, it was a part of Earth so poorly explored by westerners that European mapmakers couldn’t agree if he would find a giant continent there or not. Cook steered across miles of open ocean, fighting storms and scurvy to reach Tahiti.

These days there’s similar trepidation awaiting those who try to map the future landscape of climate change solutions.

Over the last two years, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research has convened the Low-Emission Future Dialogue, engaging a group of cross-sector stakeholders in their personal capacities to explore options for a successful zero-net-emission economy in New Zealand.  The goal was creative problem solving, not consensus on recommendations.  The outcomes are a collection of ideas not necessarily endorsed by individual participants, their affiliated organisations, or programme funders.  

Friday, 22 April 2016

Finding the best cure for a "hot air" hangover

By Catherine Leining, Policy Fellow at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research

When it was introduced in 2008, the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS) pioneered many design features. Among these was replacing the conventional ETS cap on emission units and constraint on offset credits with an unconstrained buy-and-sell linkage to the global cap set by the Kyoto Protocol. This gave participants the option to increase their own emissions while contributing to global mitigation by buying overseas Kyoto units if that was the most efficient outcome.  The history of why this policy choice was made and how it has impacted on the system’s outcomes alongside other design features and historical events is detailed in Motu’s new working paper entitled Lessons Learned from the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme.