Coalition Warns Governments Against Emissions Cap

Published: Fri 12 Dec 2008 03:33 PM
Climate Change Coalition Warns Governments Against Global Cap on Emissions
As the eleven thousand participants in the United Nations Climate Change Conference descend on Poznan, Poland, this week, a coalition of 50 civil society organisations from 38 countries is warning governments against opting for strategies that would “do little to protect humanity against the threat of climate change but would drastically increase the threat of global economic catastrophe.”
The Civil Society Coalition on Climate Change ( of which the New Zealand Business Roundtable is a member, has today released a new report with a stark message to governments about the economic flow-on effect, particularly on poorer countries, of adopting a global cap on emissions.
Describing the idea as “economic lunacy”, the report’s author, Professor Julian Morris, said a global cap would divert resources into “low carbon” technologies and away from more productive uses.
“This would slow economic growth and harm the ability of the poor to address the real problems they face every day, such as diseases, water scarcity, and inadequate nutrition”, said Professor Morris.
The report canvases policy options available to governments and concludes that adaptation, coupled with improving the institutions that enable economic growth, is likely to be the best response to gradual warming. It further suggests that one approach to addressing the remote but possible threat of catastrophic warming would be to incentivise investment in geoengineering, and advises governments ‘hell bent’ on limiting carbon emissions to consider a tax on emissions rather than a cap and trade scheme.
Business Roundtable executive director Roger Kerr said the report, titled Which Policy to Address Climate Change? was a timely and valuable addition to the debate on what constitutes an appropriate response to climate change.
“We have long held the view, as set out in the attached submission, that a cap and trade scheme of the type being considered in New Zealand would impose heavy costs on households, businesses and the economy. It is also likely to discourage investment and lead to losses in business confidence and jobs.
“It is to be hoped that common sense will prevail in Poznan and that a few European ministers will not succeed in imposing further pain on countries already struggling with much more serious problems”, said Mr Kerr.

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