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Public won't have access to Climate Change Commission's detailed models until June/July - after it gives the Government its final report

Public won't have access to Climate Change Commission's detailed models until June/July - after it gives the Government its final report
Climate Change Commission Chairman Rod Carr.

The Climate Change Commission expects it will be able to release the detailed models behind its draft emissions budget in June or July - after the public has a chance to provide feedback on this draft, and after the final version is presented to the Government in May.

Right-wing think tank, The NZ Initiative, and the Major Electricity Users’ industry group, are among the critics of the Commission for not releasing all its modelling when it released its draft report on January 31.

Their argument is they need to understand the inputs and assumptions underpinning the Commission’s recommendations to provide well-informed feedback.

This is especially so, as the Commission itself has said the changes proposed are more significant than the economic reforms of the 1980s.

However, Commission CEO Jo Hendy told interest.co.nz it was “not critical" for stakeholders submitting on the advice to access its “modelling code and formulas”. The Commission has already published much of the data and assumptions it used. 

The Commission declined a request made under the Official Information Act for it to release all its detailed modelling, saying it was still working on making it “open-source”.

It said in its current form, the models include information that is “commercially sensitive, proprietary, and/or provided to the Commission in confidence”.

Hendy told interest.co.nz, “Part of preparing the open-source models for release will involve ensuring any commercially sensitive material cannot be identified. This process takes time.”

The Major Electricity Users’ Group, whose members include the likes of Fonterra, Lion, New Zealand Steel, Norske Skog Tasman and BusinessNZ, said this was unsatisfactory for such a major piece of work.

The report, for example, suggests cutting livestock numbers by 15% by 2030, phasing out importing light internal combustion engine vehicles by 2035, and eliminating the use of coal to generate energy by 2035.

The Commission puts the upfront cost of the recommended changes (without factoring in the benefits) at $34 billion over the next 14 years.

Much of this cost will of course fall on the Major Electricity Users’ Group’s members.  

Yet its chairperson John Harbord told interest.co.nz, “Simply understanding the calculations - I don’t think there’s any self-interest in that. That’s just wanting to be informed…

“It’s very hard to form an opinion on a recommendation if you don’t know how they got there.”

If the modelling is robust enough for the Commission to use to make far-reaching recommendations, it should be robust enough for scrutiny, he said, noting the Commission had otherwise been very good to engage with.

Harbord hoped the Group would still be able to provide feedback to the Government between the modelling being released mid-year and the Government making its decision on whether to accept or reject the advice by the end of the year.

The Government has already signalled it will accept the Commission’s recommendations at a high-level. Under the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act it would need to publish an alternative plan to reach the emissions reduction targets in the legislation, should it decide to reject the advice.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said his “expectation” was for the Commission to unveil more details around its modelling once the report is finalised.

He didn’t provide interest.co.nz with a clear answer when asked whether he had formally made that expectation clear to the Commission.

“I know there’s a lot of people interested in interrogating the model - not just inside government, but outside as well,” Robertson said.

“But ultimately, they are questions for the independent Climate Commission.”

Hendy said when the Commission contracted the development of the C-PLAN, DIM-E and ENZ models, “we specified a requirement for them to be open-source with supporting documentation on how the models work”.

“We are confident that our economic and technical models are robust and fit for purpose,” she said.

“They have been developed by modelling experts, have been independently reviewed by internationally renowned experts, and our C-PLAN model described as “best in class”. Our results line up with international studies.

“We have released a broad range of information as part of our consultation, including the modelling assumptions, inputs and outputs, so people can make submissions on the draft advice.

“We are prepared to reconsider our assumptions based on evidence provided through the consultation process, and we will be re-running models and doing additional sensitivity analysis based on what we have heard from consultation.”

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57 Comments

19
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This is simply appalling

18
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Agreed. This report could break the whole NZ economy if the inputs are wrong. Ardern and Robertson are the most cynical gutless wowsers in the history of politics. Our MS media are out to lunch. Completely unacceptable.

Break what?

The 'whole New Zealand Economy' is based on drawing down finite resources, using renewable oness too fast, and filling sinks faster than they can absorb. It is also based on colonisiing, still; colonising people and their space 'elsewhere', and - via debt - colonising the future.

And, because of all that, it is, as built, temporary. You should be able to see that now; the widening gap between debt and real underwrite. Don't blame the current Govt, not the one prior, nor the one before that nor nor nor..... This irruption started when we added fossil energy in 1800 or so. We were silly in measuring it in proxy which eventually related to nothing, that's all.

But continuing to measure in said proxy, this far adrift from its underwrite (and lamenting the end of the ponzi) is a waste of the time remaining.

Ok Thanos. So which 50% of the population do we kill first? Kind of a shame to have to choose when COVID turned up to do the job for us.

I hope there is joy somewhere in your life. Your posts here are unremittingly grim.

You miss the point. I probably spend more hours enjoying, that most.

But I don't take my eye off the existential predicament

Well, look, they need time to devise either a model, or parameters, or internal processing steps/algos/computations - that accord to what they've already said. Which may well not have involved a model worthy of the name at all... And then there's always the 'Model-land paradox' which LSE identified many moons ago....

or it could be the reason he gave, “Part of preparing the open-source models for release will involve ensuring any commercially sensitive material cannot be identified. This process takes time.”.

13
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That still doesn't change the fact that it should have been ready for public release on the same day as the report.

They won't want to go near the models. $5 trillion for an undetectable 0.004 degrees.

"All climate policies by the US, China, the EU and the rest of the world, implemented from the early 2000s to 2030 and sustained through the century will likely reduce global temperature rise about 0.17°C in 2100. These impact estimates are robust to different calibrations of climate sensitivity, carbon cycling and different climate scenarios. Current climate policy promises will do little to stabilize the climate and their impact will be undetectable for many decades."
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1758-5899.12295

"China currently has 249.6 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired capacity under development (97.8 GW under construction and 151.8 GW in planning), a 21% increase over end-2019 (205.9 GW). The amount of capacity under development (249.6 GW) is larger than the coal fleets of the United States (246.2 GW) or India (229.0 GW)"
https://energyandcleanair.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/A-New-Coal-B...

The case has to be that the costs are less than the benefits, otherwise status quo should rule. That is why knowing what is in the model is so important. What are the assumptions? What relies on technology that doesn't currently exist, like replacements for diesel powered heavy trucks? What is the bet that they have CCS, or the equivalent? .

Chris, your statement: Benefits should outway costs...... is overly simplistic and fraught when it comes to weighting who the beneficiaries are and the time frame to realize the benefits.
Maintaining the status quo really isn't an option if considering the beneficiaries will ultimately be 2+ generations after we slide if this mortal coil.
Wellington infrastructure is a good example of leadership looking at cost:benefit in 10 year plan time horizons. The original communities who built the original infrastructure did it for the common good if future generations. I expect that they anticipated subsequent generations would continue to maintain and extend with a similar long, intergenerational altruism.
But then neo-liberal short term, self interest assumed the positions of power....

Lou
Read what I wrote. The assumption include the design life (which is actually part of the design codes) the discount rate and the cost of money. Even all the infrastructure built 100 years ago ran on those. The problem was the money for replacement of assets got siphoned off for vanity projects. And they are still doing it.

Journalism has an obligation to go further than this.

To discuss 'economic' outcomes when we are so in debt globally and locally, and going exponentially-further into same every hour, and doing this atop a planet we're extracting-from exponentially (and polluting exponentially - which is what C02 represents) is bollocks. Sorry, but it is. At this point in the unrepayable debt trajectory, what is money worth?

So why bother attempting to address real stuff in it?

Answer: Those who stand to win in the current system, will do everything they can to extend it; obfuscation being one of their tools.

So rather than OIA querying the CCC re financial modelling, how about modelling that upon which any financial modelling depends?

14
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Climate change vs House price change.

I'd think the latter is far more urgent to be dealt with by NZ's incompetent politicians.

10
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But look over there! It's a climate emergency!!

Anyone questioning models is a climate denialist!

We will always have shorter term immediate problems, but the idea that we should only focus on these and ignore the larger long term issues will always come back to bite hard.
Ironically it was this even shorter term only focus on even more immediate issues over the last 30 years that has created housing crisis.

12
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Are China going to close the 3 big new coal fired power stations they opened recently? New Zealand power generation is overwhelmingly from renewable sources, mainly hydro. Our share of global emissions is 0.0001% or something. Our farmers produce much-needed protein...yet we are supposed to be ashamed of them one feels. Where is the evidence that the rest of the world ‘follows NZ’s lead’? Did the rest of the world go nuclear free when we did? Does China follow our lead regarding personal freedom and human rights? Our policy of importing people from third world countries who have a vastly bigger carbon footprint in our first world country: this needs looking at, if anything does.

Our power use per capita is 2 to 3 times the Chinese, most of their consuption is producing the worlds dirty goods.
https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/per-capita-energy-use

per-head we're some of the worst.

And it's only the making of money, that justifies dairying - which in turn is the process of turning fossil fuels into human ones, 10 FF to 1 human......

And you've forgotten to count our offshoring (as Bernard Hickey and Giles Beckford conveniently did in the '2 cent's worth' Doughnut Economics episode). A lot of o'seas 'pollution' is making stuff WE consume.....

Tom... yes, another factor contributing to the fact that most of our migrants are now "net negative immigrants" is that by allowing them to live here we enable them to increase their carbon footprint. This is an important issue to many but unfortunately it is often or usually overlooked. The same goes for temporary long-term visa holders as well. Since the majority of our migrants have come from rural backwaters in recent times it is pretty obvious that when they move here their carbon footprint will be significantly increased.
All we need is open public discussion and debate (and even a binding referendum) on immigration and factors like this will become common knowledge and NZ will be in a much better position to weigh up what our future direction should look like. The type of immigrants we received up to around 10 or 15 years ago were largely beneficial to our society whereas last decade I would say about 90%+ were in the category of "net negative migrant". There may also be hidden benefits from mass, low quality immigration and it would also be helpful to be made aware of those benefits as well, of course. Open communication and a decision and direction that reflects our democracy. Too much to expect?

What I want to know is how they squeeze considerably more milk out of considerably less cows.

Compressed air.

We squeeze 50% more milk out of a cow now than we did in 1990. I don't really have any expertise in this - do you think we've plateaued?

No we haven't. We have a long way to go and many ways to get there. Some of which will cost but many of which are changes in thinking and doing. All of which will make us more efficient on many levels.

Look to other primary sector categories for your answer to squeezing more production from fewer cows. For example we produce about the same volume of sheep meat from a flock of 28 million ewes now as we did from 70 million in the 80s. Per hectare production of kiwifruit is over 2x what it was 30 years ago.
What gave NZ it's global lead position in agriculture in the post WW2 period was government investment in science R&D coupled with Department of Ag/MAF technology transfer. MAF included both the world leading research and the tech transfer capabilities.
Yes, private benefit accrued from that public investment. But the NZ economy became strong also.
NZ agri retains that capability to change practice.
Perhaps it's time to revert back to that former model with greater emphasis on"blue sky" research coupled with government tech transfer services.

Interesting

21
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Jacinda still has the wedding card up her sleave.

It will be on par with Charles and Diana's wedding. Souvenirs will be sold and the project in TV 3 will be in a worship frenzy of epic proportions.

What ever you think of her, lets hope that it does not end up the same way.
On the subject of royalty, isn't it time we ditched them and became an independent democratic nation. They have very little practical relevance to the running of the country and any value the crown may have as a moral leader and good example is non existent if not negative, particular when Charles succeeds his mother.

I personally hate democracy. We have it now and look what it delivers. America is not a democracy it's a Republic. The founding fathers hated democracy.

Chris....What I really want clarified from that interview is whether Harry faced questions relating to anybody in the Royal family being CONCERNED ABOUT the babies possible skin colour. If so, IMO, we should cut all ties with them solely based on this act of pure and unacceptable racism. However, if Harry was asked questions CONCERNING the babies skin colour (possibly along with questions on his hair and eye colour) that is completely natural and if that was actually the case Oprah, Meghan and Harry should be vilified for falsely trying to play the race card. Once they brought this into the public domain they owed it to everybody to be clear on this small but very very important distinction. Otherwise it should never have been mentioned. CONCERNED ABOUT or CONCERNING?????
Also, at her age, does anybody believe Meghan did not google Harry and check his social media before they married as she claimed? And when she was mentally unwell and had Harry by her side they could have both sought treatment or checked her into any institution in the world without consulting or getting permission from anyone. Do we honestly believe they would have been turned away? Doors tend to open easy when you are a prince. And Oprah, lay off the Don Lemonesque cries of indignation and worry more about uncovering the important details.

NZ would be informally closed for neighborhood street parties. "This one's on me"

I would be interested to see what assumptions that they made about our population growth.
I crunched a few of the numbers that they did publish and found that from 2018 to 2035 they are projecting
Methane (farm stuff) will fall from 29.2 to 21.6 Million ton/year Rather timid. Farmers are pretty innovative and I would have thought that they could do better if their livelihood depended on it.
CO2 will fall from 40 to 13 Million ton/year?????? Rather heroic. Great if we can though.

They would be able to drop the methane footprint a lot more if the Luddites allowed the GE grass. If there really was a climate crisis, that would be very high priority. Otherwise, it is just a country wide virtue signalling.

CM - that is nonsense. Old Woman and the Fly......

You have to shop somewhere, and you're guaranteed more resilience, more capacity, the earlier you stop.

You don't get resilience if you have no economy. Environmental concerns are only the prerogative of rich countries. Dairying is 25% of our export earning. That is what pays for your fripperies. Especially as we don't make anything anymore - it is all imported. Do away with the green production and what's going to replace it?

6.16 million in 2050. That's about a 1 million increase from today or 20%. Over last 30 years we have increased 1.5 million or 40%. The figure is the mid point of statistics NZ population projections. (Table 7.44 chapter 7 of the evidence report). They have modelled a single population scenario. I'm with Karl from above. Let's have a national discussion on population and a referendum as it appears a political no go area. Then policies to make it happen.

These hippies have put on suits-and-ties and proverbially 'gone-to-congresses'. They're serving up globalistic, communist frameworks/policies only tenable from an atheistic mindset [often not even then]. The vast majority of the world are of one spiritual persuasion or another. The above is more a topic sentence and I don't care to elaborate.

I will point out this; banning a few cows and petrol vehicles is nothing in terms of emissions compared to.. say.. NZ having a couple of large volcanic eruptions. I'm kool.. I'm with Captain Planet.. let's plant trees and NOT dump toxic sh** in our waterways. Tesla vehicles are kool, I'd own one.. not sure how clean lithium and cobalt mining is tbh.

These hippies should be dredging our waterways, NOT lobbing to commit us to communist agendas.

Sooner or later, on a finite planet you come up against Limits.

There are two ways to address them; ignore them and plough into them full-speed, or avoid impact.

The latter requires rules - just like driving on the LHS of the road (which I'm sure you accept). Don't confuse the need for rules with some sort of creed; apples aren't oranges........

@powerdownkiwi, a well toned comment for sure. :) I believe we should have rules such as not destroying waterways and programs for reforestation and the like.

I'm not sure about your assertion; "Sooner or later, on a finite planet you come up against Limits." Obviously our planet is finite in size, but that doesn't necessarily mean we come up against limits. The world is VASTLY, vastly, vastly unpopulated/devoid of people and many/most resources are either abundant or renewable.

I'm not having a go, your comments were very polite and I acknowledge there are practicalities/limits in getting to resources and their renewability. Also, what is the End Game.. 'Earth's Destiny' - people have varying opinions. The global effort on CFCs relating to the Ozone Layer has undeniably benefited us Kiwi's directly - so I'm very sympathetic to rules.

But to cut right through it; charging carbon taxes, setting arbitrary limits on cattle and cars might achieve nothing other than causing human misery - it might impoverish. That's just the beginning.. many can see the potential for a kind of Climate Fascism arising. This concern is undeniably valid. Now, I don't mean to throw the word "fascism" around like Americans do. I mean to express my concern that giving power and policy wins to some of these fanatics could see people being shipped off to a neo-gulag.

Sounds extreme and nutty right? So does genetically modifying cows to emit less methane. I have concerns, lol :)

Vastly under populated? LOL. Where did you get that strange idea from? The only parts of the planet not seething with humans, their livestock, croplands, or play areas, are either climatically, topographically, or hydrologically challenged. Ask the 80% of the global population living on less than $10 a day, whether there is enough resource to go around?
Climate fascism? The likely outcome of a damaged biosphere with depleted resources and too many mouths to feed. The deeper the denial goes, the deeper the fascism will be! Those demanding "freedom", but exhibiting zero responsibility, are the mechanism for the demise of "freedom"!

No, unpopulated. The vast majority of earth is unpopulated by people. I don't claim to know the optimum number of people for our world, if there is such a thing.

Restricting farming and hydrocarbons isn't going to feed the hungry now is it. Let's use the carrot before the fascist stick.

Carrot? Seems you want to consume the carrot as quickly as possible!

Burning hydrocarbons is guaranteed to restrict farm productivity into the future. Hydrocarbons are going away, but not before making the Earth less conducive to stable human society.

Of course the Major Electricity Users group are interested, to get consumers of gas and onto electric will require cheap electricity who wants to install a hot water heat pump if gas is still the cheaper option.

I tried to get off gas but the total disconnection would cost me about $900 and the govt didn't want to foot the bill. Never mind what would happen if a few thousand in a short period of time wanted to get off gas and switch to electricity. Rolling blackouts for a few years ids the likely outcome.

Just an excuse to fill Gates and other elite do-gooders pockets

“It said in its current form, the models include information that is “commercially sensitive, proprietary, and/or provided to the Commission in confidence”.”

This is a classic, and transparent, excuse used by agencies when they don’t want to release information. A model of this sort will contain a lot of aggregated data (It is likely that many of the inputs will have even been aggregated across industries before being entered into the model). The Commission could remove the source references easily (they are just placed there as bread crumbs for modellers to check their own work - they are not vital to understanding the model) and then release it. It would be a 1-2 day job for someone who worked on the model.

I expect the Commission is currently beefing up the “model” in the hope that its will stand up to scrutiny. An OIA request from Jenée asking for a time stamped email attaching the final model used for the report, and a list of all changes made to the model after it was used (not disclosing information that identifies individual sources where confidential, but describing in general terms what was changed) would be an ideal next step to open up some transparency.

Do we question the models used by economists?

LOL. Sorting through chicken entrails you mean?

We would love more designated green spaces in the country and cities to make it more liveable.

I think it's a good signal to invest heavily in the ESG sector. Time to find out his current investment portfolio and mimic it.

Homeopathy indeed can be lucrative!

The picture of rod carr says it all. Woke

One thing to avoid is Cognitive Dissonance.

We do it through money - 'putting food on the table', for instance, is just that; putting and food and table. It requires soil quality to grow, energy to harvest, energy to transport. Money is (was, the way it's going) the way we apportion that food. It does not produce or deliver the stuff, all it can do is deliver signals - through a glass darkly - to the producers to increase/decrease. It has zero effect if they can't, it has zero effect if there are too many at the table.

Yet there are those who hold 'I care for the environment' and 'I worry about how people will put food on the table' simultaneously, while thinking the amount of money can change the soil/energy/diner ratios.

So it is with CO2, and GDP. It is cognitively dissonant to fail to address the first, for fear of impacting the second. The ecological conditions required for continued life, are not bought with money (although the pursuance of same is appearing capable of wiping out life).

keep it under wraps, preferably a few years.

Blah Blah Blah.. we just have to do it. In essence, we have been polluting for way to long and drawing down in unsustainable ways as we intensify our largest industries...which happen to be based on natural resource use (including coverting land use to dairy). We are at a crossroads where technological changes and consumer / social mindset behavior change are merging. This is an opportunity ready to be ceased. Not to hide behind delay tactics so companies can eek out as much profit while the country falls way behind other economies and socially advanced societies.

C'mon, its time to be brave, recapture that Kiwi spirit that propelled us from the dim dark 70's and early 80's. Yes, some things will break. But we cannot afford NOT to change.

So submitters are prevented from seeing the climate data used to form their assumptions, in order to make a rational submission that will impact the outcome. Sounds like predetermination, not consultation.

At least Labours policy of stopping gas exploration and production won't have negative climate implications. Oh wait..........
Herald today
https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/new-zealand-imported-more-coal-last-year-t...
or from MBIE for 2019
https://www.mbie.govt.nz/assets/f318a171cb/new-zealand-energy-quarterly-...