Research Note - When the facts change: How the ICCC saved New Zealand from a policy disaster

Matt Burgess
25 July, 2019

The Interim Climate Change Committee (ICCC) has delivered a landmark report, according to our new policy paper, When the facts change: How the ICCC saved New Zealand from a policy disaster.

Analysis by the Interim Committee found the Government’s 100% renewable electricity policy would hike power prices and potentially deliver worse environmental outcomes. The committee recommended the Government prioritise other more effective emissions policies.

Last week, the Government announced it had accepted the Interim Committee’s recommendations, effectively putting the 100% renewables policy on ice.

“The Interim Committee is directly responsible for New Zealand avoiding an environmental and economic disaster in the 100% renewables policy,” said Matt Burgess, author of When the facts change.

The Interim Committee’s analysis revealed the 100% renewables policy could make blackouts 100 times more likely, hit low-income households hardest, and prevent far greater emissions reductions elsewhere in the economy.

The Interim Committee has demonstrated emissions policies can be tested for their effectiveness, and how to deliver results in a way that can influence elected governments,” Mr Burgess said.

“Emissions policies vary enormously in their effectiveness. New Zealand could achieve a step change in its efforts to lower emissions just by checking emissions policies work using the Interim Committee’s approach. That is why the Interim Committee’s report is historic.”

The New Zealand Initiative has also welcomed the quality of the process run by the Government.

“The Government’s decision to allow an independent committee to evaluate its flagship environmental policy, then make changes in response to the committee’s findings, is exceptional.”

Parliament’s Environment Committee is considering the Government’s Zero Carbon bill, which will establish the Climate Change Commission.

“As a permanent, independent entity, the Climate Change Commission would make an ideal home for testing all emissions policies.”

“We have asked the Environment Committee to recommend the Zero Carbon bill makes the Commission expressly responsible for independently testing all emissions policies.”

 

 

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