Business needs climate change action to be equitable and achievable

June 10, 2021

The EMA says the Climate Change Commission’s final recommendations on the pathway to a net carbon zero economy by 2050 still leave questions unanswered.

Chief Executive Brett O’Riley says some of the EMA’s concerns about the initial report, which were included in BusinessNZ’s submission, remain.

"The goal is unquestionable, but the pathways and practical measures required for business to reach them are still unclear. The only thing that is clear from our point of view, which reflects that of our 7,400 business members, is that it must be equitable and achievable," he says.

The EMA’s initial concerns in the initial report centred around the role of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS); the reality of some of the bold assumptions made in the modelling; and what role gas can play as a transition option, particularly in achieving goals around process (industrial) heat.

Mr O’Riley says there are new assumptions and modelling in response to public submissions, but that will mean the ETS cannot do its job.

"There is a risk in putting economic restrictions in addition to the ETS in place that could result in New Zealand being less internationally competitive and industrial production moving away, which is bad for business and the country as a whole," he says.

The EMA is however pleased to see submissions about removing natural gas too quickly from the system resulting in higher electricity prices and a lack of supply have been addressed with an 11-year extension for the country’s largest gas user, Methanex, which uses 40 per cent of all gas produced.

"Our business members still want more detail about the real costs of these pathways, as they are desperate for a breather from legislative and regulatory changes like this that are adding costs to their businesses. They want to be able to plan for and balance these costs out," says Mr O’Riley.

"We look forward to working further with the Government on the pathways towards a net carbon zero economy by 2050, particularly on the freight strategy as there is a lot of work to be done to cut out almost all transport emissions by then."

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