Richard Prebble: New climate report is just socialist quackery


The Climate Commission says it took the 15,000 submissions it received and “have re-run our models and carried out additional sensitivity to further understand the modelled cost of GDP”. The result? The Commission changed its estimate in the draft report that its recommendations will lower GDP in 30 years’ time by 1 per cent to 1.2 per cent.

It is quackery.

The Treasury has some experience in modelling the New Zealand economy and cannot predict GDP in 12 months’ time.

The Commission concedes that it is not possible to model the future but then bases its report on modelling.

A Shaman examining the entrails of a goat could make a forecast of GDP in 30 years’ time that would be just as valid.

The Commission claims its report is “evidence-based” and “impartial”. It is neither.

The Commission is using climate change to advance an agenda for a transition to a “fair, inclusive and equitable” society, the eternal justification for socialism.

The report’s recommendations will make reaching zero emissions more costly while making New Zealand less fair, more divided and poorer.

The Commission has no more ability to pick winners than previous governments.

I do not know if electric vehicles (EVs) are the future. Nor does the Commission.

The Muldoon government thought CNG vehicles were the future of transport. Expensive subsidies were provided to convert cars and to set up a national network of CNG stations. We were leading the world but no one followed.

If the future is electric cars then the private sector will invest. If it is not, then it will not. The government’s subsidies announced last weekend just means those who cannot afford to buy an electric car are subsidising those who can.

What is fair, inclusive and equitable about that?

What would be fair is the least/cost option to reaching net zero emissions. Every other option involves politicians picking winners and adding costs on us all.

We already have in place a mechanism to set New Zealand’s net emissions at whatever level government chooses.

The Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) measures the country’s emissions. Emitters must buy units. Those who remove emissions such as forestry receive credits.

The Commission concedes the ETS scheme can get the country to zero emissions. The report also admits that the ETS scheme is the most cost/effective route.

The Commission says the law, the Zero Emissions Act, requires it to propose a more expensive path. The government’s objective was always socialism. Why is National supporting this nonsense?

The Commission also claims that international evidence is that relying on price signals leads to “market failure”. This finding will come as news to economists.

The international evidence is overwhelming that central planning, and that is what subsidising EVs is, always fails. It is free markets that have lifted millions from poverty.

A fifth of humanity has conducted a 70-year experiment at great personal cost to prove that central planning fails and markets succeed. From 1950 to 1978 the Chinese implemented central planning. It’s estimated maybe as many as 55 million starved to death. From 1978 the Chinese government has adopted free markets. Around 250 million Chinese have escaped poverty.

We do not need to go overseas. Central planning in New Zealand failed.

Central planning is a lobbyist’s paradise. Even before the politicians have begun modifying the Commission’s report the report itself has been influenced by lobbying.

The word Treaty is mentioned 193 times. The report recommends special treatment for the “Iwi/Maori economy”.

Critics claim the report favours agriculture.

Once the market is abandoned and politicians are empowered then votes will be the criteria.

Each concession from the market by itself may have little effect. Accumulatively it will be disastrous.

The ETS scheme has not prevented emissions from rising because the government has wasted three and half years waiting for this report. Whole industries are exempt from the scheme. There has been no cap on total emissions.

There has been no recognition that climate change is a global issue. A reduction in emissions by a tropical forest is just as valuable as from a New Zealand temperate forest.

The same acreage of tropical forest can absorb four times more. Countries like the Solomon Islands where they are clear-felling tropical forests are doing so because they have no other income source from the land.

It makes better sense to use our land for the world’s lowest emission dairying and pay countries like the Solomon Islands to reforest.

All parties, except Act, have adopted a nationalistic policy. Emitters can only buy expensive New Zealand ETS units. Even the report says: “Aotearoa will need some offshore mitigation”.

Ditch this political report, set a cap on emissions, include the whole economy, Maori, agriculture, everyone, in the ETS scheme and allow offshore mitigation.

The free market will find the most cost-effective path to net zero emissions.

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