So NZIER thinks it doesn’t matter whether we reduce local emissions or just pay off third-world countries to reduce them for us. Apparently the only important issue is whether we satisfy our responsibilities that we’ve committed to. The money quote is:
It allows emissions reductions to take place in the country where it is cheapest to do so. The climate doesn’t care where the emissions reductions occur, so nor should we.
Economists just love to assume the world’s a perfect place but, so often, reality bites them on the ass. Yeah, I’d like to THINK that when I bought a credit from Somalia they were implementing a project to reduce their forecast emissions. In reality they probably spent the cash on guns and powerboats, and forged the certificate of additionality. The fact is that a lot of credits available on the international market either have dubious additionality value, or cheaply reduce GHG emissions by destroying the environment in other ways. When you buy on the international market instead of reducing your emissions domestically that’s the sort of thing you’re buying into. If you don’t believe me then ask the gospel 😉
Ultimately, the environment doesn’t care if NZ satisfies its international obligations, it only cares how damaged it gets. When you buy on the international market you just have to accept that you’re not doing it to help the planet, you’re doing it to meet the letter of the law. If that’s the way you want to play international diplomacy then fine, but don’t pretend it’s because you’re a greenie at heart!