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Zero carbon will have ‘confronting economic costs’

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  Climate Change Minister James Shaw. Climate Change Minister James Shaw. Photo: Lynn Grieveson

The Government's proposed Zero Carbon Bill lays out three options for transitioning New Zealand to a low-emissions economy. But while the bill itself is a good idea, people haven’t absorbed the “confronting” economic costs they’ll face, lawyer Simon Watt tells Eloise Gibson writing for Newsroom.

The Government has been admirably open about the economic impacts of its proposed Zero Carbon Bill, but people haven’t absorbed what the “stark” cost figures mean, says Bell Gully partner Simon Watt.

Even under a reasonably benign scenario, economic modelling released with the public consultation document suggests people may pay 23c to 63c more for a litre of petrol, says Watt. “That’s the environment you’re looking at, compared with just under 5c (added to a litre of petrol) at today’s carbon prices. Today [a unit of carbon] is trading at about $20.50 per unit and some of the more moderate and optimistic scenarios in the discussion document suggest it could be $100-$275.” . . .