Climate Change Policy FAQ's

Climate Change Policy FAQ's

1. What is the difference between your plan and that of the Green Party?

Answer

TOP and The Greens share the same aim of a zero carbon economy by 2050, however TOP wants to get there in the most efficient way possible. We want to use a price mechanism – the Emissions Trading Scheme – to incentivise change. The price of carbon will rise to reflect the challenge we have in reducing our emissions as per the 2030 target. The revenue generated will be redirected into growing trees (particularly on erosion prone land) and improving energy efficiency in households and businesses.

By contrast the Greens are suggesting a carbon tax (with a fixed price, which will be less effective at changing behaviour) and will return all revenue in tax cuts. 

2. Aren’t ETS’ just a scam?

Answer

A bad builder always blame his tools. The ETS is just a tool, and it is only as good as the person wielding it. The problem with the ETS is that the National Government allowed it to become polluted by cheap, fraudulent, foreign junk carbon credits from the Ukraine and Russia. New Zealand was the largest user of these credits per capita which put our money in the hands of foreign criminals, devastated our ETS, increased emissions and caused forests to be cut down and converted to dairy. It is a shameful record.

Regulation and taxes are also tools, and can also be misused and abused in the wrong hands. 

3. Where is the conclusive evidence to suggest climate change is man made?

Answer

Science is rarely conclusive. However, the scientific consensus is that it is more than 95% likely to be man made. Delaying action on the basis of a less than 5% chance could end up being a very expensive strategy. And if you don’t believe the scientific consensus then you’re on the wrong website. 

4. Why should we take the lead on this? Our contribution to global warming is tiny.

Answer

Climate change isn’t going away, so we will need to be fossil fuel free by 2050. The longer we delay the greater the cost of transition will become. We will also miss out on potential business opportunities that will appear during the transition.

The actions we are suggesting to start with make sense to do regardless of reducing emissions; planting erosion prone land will stabilise soil and improve water quality, while improving the energy efficiency of households and businesses will save everyone money and make us more competitive. What’s not to like? 

5. Does TOP have a plan to incentivize solar?

Answer

We don’t favour any particular technology that might help us get rid of fossil fuels. It is all about getting the right incentives in place and letting people decide what to do. At the moment solar may be economic in some parts of New Zealand but generally there are better investments we can make to reduce emissions.