It's never too late to change: NZIER on climate policy

It is never too late to change, says the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) on a report into the country’s environmental policies.

The self-funded report by senior NZIER economist Peter Clough questions the high profile of greenhouse gas emissions and policies to achieve ‘zero waste,’ instead of focusing on improving air quality, protecting ecosystems and water management.

Each policy proposal should undergo a cost-benefit test, it said.

Chief executive Jean-Pierre de Raad said New Zealand needed to engage with the world in a unified approach including developing countries, without focusing on emissions reductions at a high social and economic cost.

“The focus on climate change is a sideline, really. What we’re really talking about is a useful framework for sustainability policy.”

He said the report was designed as a point of discussion, rather than a lobbying tool, but it was “never too late” for the government to change, despite the looming climate change negotiations in December.

“What we haven’t done is the economic modelling of changing policies and current priorities.”

Mr de Raad said there was also a question of how much you want to push policy, including greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

Mr Clough said current policy priorities were wrong when considering how unique the environmental stock at risk was, the value at risk, the immediacy of the spread of the threat and whether there was opportunity to control the outcome.

Water demand management and water allocation ranked high because of the potential to affect availability and cost of production and consumption.

NZIER suggested rebalancing policy towards adaptation to change, redirection in conservation and a refocus of waste minimisation initiatives to those that could produce net benefits.

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Hopefully this is the tide changing away from the Global warming loonies to real solutions

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Just because others seem hell bent to jump off the cliff is no reason for NZ to do so. It's all a giant scam!

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This scam, like the Y2K scam, is not likely to be exposed as such; simply because there are too many vested interests involved in maintaining the myth.
To begin with, there is a whole beauracracy at the United Nations, not forgetting scientists in other countries, whose lifestyle relies upon the perpetration of this myth.

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Why do you think aunty Helen signed up to all this garbage, always a control freak, if she could no longer control us through govt, what's the next best thing............the UN.

The sooner the UN is disbanded and all the leaches go back to their countries and try and find a 'real' job the better, they will never live in the real world, they are really just a waste of space.

As for the Minister or all the green stuff, he is the wrong choice for this kind of office, we need somebody with vision, and not fairytales about Eutopia, sorry Nick it aint gonna happen

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Please, can't you make room for the possibility that the burning of fossil fuels has put a lot of carbon in the atmosphere? Isn't it possible that this carbon can affect the climate? And isn't it prudent to act to reduce carbon emissions?

I appreciate the fact that any actions to reduce the impact of human induced climate change might have a negative impact on your earning potential. However inaction may have an even greater negative effect.

The 'global warming loonies' you speak of are Scientists that study the complexities of climate and atmosphere - yet lay people such as yourself profess to know a 'giant scam' when you see one.

I suspect self interest is your motivation in denying climate change - sad, really.

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at last something sensible in the "climate change" myth!! I also hope that the tide will change away from the Global warming loonies.

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It just doesn't make sense. We have enough resources to save the planet, but we don't have enough money to buy these resources off of the people who own them?
But what is ownership anyway? Isn't it a right granted by governments for the good of everyone?
Why can't the government take this right away? Because a few rich people care more about their personal weath than they do about the good of the planet?

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Never too late? What planet are these so-called economists living on? Last I checked the NZIER staff lacked the quals to make such claims, and their misleading name implies they are some sort of appointed national body. They are not.

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Bob you bozo Y2K didn't result in crisis because everyone took action. Arguing that we all did a lot and nothing happened simply reveals we successfully navigated the crisis.

Unfortunately it is probably too late to achieve the same on the climate situation, so I agree (much as I dislike to) with you loony lot that we should focus on adaptation more now.

The UN is not perfect, mostly because it ispopulated by too many people who were exposed to economic theories about self-interest and act childishly now, but it is the best we've got. Don't trash it, hold the individuals to account and shame them into proper behaviour, don't make wild silly claims about them, it makes us all stop listening to you when you rant.

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Brrrr, it's been getting cold lately.

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Thanks for making this useful observation.

Your opinion that it has been cold recently dismisses all the science of climate change - phew. No need to worry now, thanks.

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Who is going to take any notice of the NZ Institute of Economic Research. They didn't predict the current depression, they have never before been interested in preserving biodiversity. They are made up of people who owe their first loyalty to their employers. They are private consultants masquerading as a public institute. Every major commercial organisation has its own group of tame economists who predict the interests of their organisation as objective science. The only 2 economists whoever had a long term view were Malthus and Marx and they would never be employed by NZIER. The only current economist who has taken a relatively long term view in recent years has been Nicholas Stern and he is now the target of vested economic interests. Scientists can and do take a long term view and its all bad.

Austin Brookes. <stokesnz@paradise.co.nz>

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