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  • Robert MacCulloch

NZ's Climate Change Report: A comment

Last week, the Climate Change Commission (CCC) released its report for the NZ Government. It received nation-wide media coverage:


https://ccc-production-media.s3.ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/public/evidence/advice-report-DRAFT-1ST-FEB/ADVICE/CCC-ADVICE-TO-GOVT-31-JAN-2021-pdf.pdf


A large number of the world's most eminent economists recommend that the best way of dealing with the harm that pollution is causing the environment is to price that harm by implementing a carbon tax. Once that is done, then private individuals will change their behavior accordingly, substituting toward greener products and technologies that do not attract such a tax. To ensure there isn't damage to the overall economy, the proceeds from these taxes can be used to cut income and corporate taxes so the policy becomes "revenue neutral".


However, I could not find the words "carbon tax" anywhere in the entire CCC report, which is several hundred pages long and meant to cover all aspects of the best policies to reduce environmental damage, whilst at the same time not hurting overall prosperity. Yes the report discusses the Emissions Trading Scheme, but not carbon taxes, and there are differences which are the subject of important world debates.


Instead the report seems to go heavy on introducing "command and control" rules and regulations. These are frowned upon by many top economists since they rely on large numbers of bureaucrats, are prone to huge mistakes, can be very costly and hard to enforce. By the way, if you Google "Carbon Taxes Canada" you get "People also ask? Is carbon tax effective in Canada? But the carbon tax is generally the most efficient tool, which is why it has to be an important part of Canada's plan to bring emissions down by several hundred megatonnes by 2030 ... any government serious about lowering greenhouse gas emissions has to put carbon taxes at the top of the menu".



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