Let’s Get Wellington Moving wants to spend $350 million to reduce emissions by 1,000 tonnes. That is a bad deal – for you, the environment, just about everyone except Let’s Get Wellington Moving, it seems. Here is part of the summary of a plan called “City Streets”:
Let’s pretend for a moment that the government had not capped emissions with the Emissions Trading Scheme last year. Let’s ignore the statutory cap on emissions.
At a discount rate of 6%, Treasury’s standard rate for public spending, $350 million has an annual cost of $21 million. Which means Let’s Get Wellington Moving is proposing to spend $21,000 per tonne of emissions avoided.
Spending that much on each tonne means the country goes bankrupt before we get to net zero. At $21,000 per tonne, net zero emissions costs 230% of GDP.
Of course, we have an ETS, domestic transport is in the ETS cap, and the ETS cap is the law. As a result, LGWM will reduce emissions by exactly zero tonnes. You’re not helping your grandchildren by borrowing to pay for emissions policies that don’t cut emissions. You’re just saddling them with debt and making them poorer.
Notwithstanding the whole not cutting emissions thing, congratulations LGWM. You’re in the hall of fame:
Let’s Get Wellington Moving IBD, August 2021, $21,000/tonne
EECA Low emissions contestable fund, December 2020, $33,000/tonne
Auckland Harbour walkway and cycleway, June 2021, $7,800-$230,000/tonne