Written By: - Date published: 6:45 am, May 20th, 2015 - 134 comments
Categories: climate change, global warming, national, treasury - Tags: climate change, hiding the facts, scandal, through the looking glass, treasury predictions
The Nats are currently “consulting” we the people on NZ’s carbon emissions target. As covered yesterday, the consultation document is largely a vehicle for Nat spin and evasion, focusing on the costs of action to reduce our emissions. The costs of inaction are ignored. But we have Treasury estimates of the costs:
Failure to cut emissions could cost $34,000 per household
Treasury figures, released by the Sustainability Council today, show failing to take action to cut greenhouse gas emissions will cost between $2,000 and $34,000 per household, the Green Party said.
The Sustainability Council has obtained figures previously redacted from a Treasury climate briefing which shows that the cost of failing to take action to cut New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions is between $3 billion and $52 billion from 2021 to 2030. The Treasury report identifies the cost of buying credits to cover a target of a 5 percent reduction below 1990 levels for the 2021-2030 period at a price of between $10 and $165 a tonne.
The costs of doing nothing are phenomenal. The topic of many past and future posts here to be sure.
But in this post I want to focus on that phrase “previously redacted”. The redacted Treasury report is here. The Sustainability Council got the figures because they got access to a different version of the report:
Simon Terry of the Sustainability Council, who obtained a copy of the Treasury document with the figures, hoped the massive price tag would frighten the Government into action now.
So where did the different version of the report come from? Yesterday in Parliament:
Hon TIM GROSER (Minister for Climate Change Issues): The range of figures contained in the redacted part of that now rather dated document was between 0.3 and 0.8 percent of GDP …
Dr Russel Norman : In light of that answer, what exactly did Treasury get wrong when it said in this paper that the cost to the Government of not cutting our greenhouse gas emissions was up to $52 billion—as Treasury said in this paper?
Hon TIM GROSER : I think what Treasury got wrong was that it did not use sufficiently sophisticated software to conceal the redacted information.
What? So we the people only learned of Treasury projections on the costs of inaction on climate change because someone screwed up a redacted document! We were never meant to know. And National’s Minister for Climate Change Issues statement on the matter is that Treasury should have done a better job of hiding this vital information from the public.
National are running a public “consultation” process where they intended to hide the most important half of the story. We have become so used to scandals that this one will probably be lost in the noise. But it is huge. What the actual hell?