The previous sections of this discussion paper have outlined a number of options that could be considered for longer-term measures to manage greenhouse gas emissions in the New Zealand economy. Those options have been described without reference to the relative strengths and weaknesses of the other possibilities. The purpose of this section is to ask some comparative questions that will enable officials to collect perspectives around the relative merits of the following options for policy after 2012:

  • emissions trading (across key sectors or economy-wide)

  • greenhouse gas charge (across key sectors or economy-wide)

  • regulation (RMA or Electricity Act)

  • emission reduction agreements (mandatory or voluntary).

Other important categories of measures include financial incentives, such as capital subsidies, tax incentives, financing programmes, or preferential pricing schemes, and information and education programmes. As noted elsewhere in this paper, the government expects a mix of sectoral and economy-wide measures may be needed to integrate New Zealand’s sustainable development objectives. The measures listed above are not the only steps being considered by the government and are not intended to exclude other types of measures that could be adopted on a sectoral or economy-wide basis.

Questions for discussion

23) What national and/or international circumstances would favour emissions trading rather than greenhouse gas charges applied broadly or more selectively across multiple sectors of the New Zealand economy post-2012?

24) Would a price measure be sufficient to achieve the following types of climate change-related objectives: accelerated uptake of highly efficient technologies, development and commercialisation of new technologies, fuel switching to low emissions or renewable energy sources, and reduced energy demand?

25) Under what circumstances should a regulatory approach be used in place of price-based measures such as emissions trading, a greenhouse gas charge or financial incentives?

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