17 Jan Time for the Climate Change Commission to investigate the exploration ban
The hurried legislation putting the exploration ban into law used a terrible process in terms of how Parliament is supposed to operate. The very short time allowed for submissions and deliberation showed how little confidence Government MPs had in the decision.
Government officials estimate cost to New Zealand of the ban on new offshore oil and gas exploration at $7.9 billion and that the ban will likely increase global greenhouse gas emissions by transferring production to other, less efficient countries.
Later this year, the Government intends to create the Climate Change Commission as the expert, independent bi-partisan organisation guiding New Zealand’s transition to a low or zero carbon economy. The Bill creating the Commission is being drafted this month, and Parliament will send it to a Select Committee in February.
The huge decision to end New Zealand exploration – and producing its own oil and natural gas when the current reserves run out – is exactly the sort of decision the Climate Change Commission should be offering independent advice on, not politicians with their own agenda.
The Commission could look at whether the exploration ban will lower or raise overall greenhouse gas emissions, and at the economic and social costs of such a move.
If the ban really is about fighting climate change, then making certain the ban actually helps that cause is an important decision.
The Government didn’t consider those issues when it rushed its decision to ban new exploration. The new Climate Change Commission will be the opportunity for the Government to justify its decision and seek expert backing.