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Reframing the narrative: Climate action now unlocks opportunities for the future

The Climate Change Commission released an historic, landmark report, highlighting that not only will New Zealand miss its emissions reduction targets under the Paris Agreement, but the country is also not on track to meet domestic targets in the Zero Carbon Act under current policy settings. So, time is running out to act on climate change.

It’s time to reframe the narrative and look at how efforts to limit global warming are not a cost but an investment in our future and new areas of economic opportunity. Rather than climate action being a drain on our economy, Deloitte’s report Asia Pacific’s Turning Point shows it will significantly boost GDP and accelerate phenomenal growth in both New Zealand and Asia Pacific as a whole. 

This report is timely and critical because it challenges one of the main assumptions about acting on climate change – the cost burden. The report reframes the debate and shows a direct connection between action on climate change and future prosperity, debunking the myth that growth is not compatible with addressing climate change.

With decarbonisation acting as a new economic engine, the Asia Pacific region and New Zealand play a key role in providing the skills, technology, innovation, and finance for this global transformation. There is a window of opportunity to lead the way by seeing climate action not as a cost, but an extraordinary possibility for growth in New Zealand and the region.

It is vital that collaborative work begins now. Our economic modelling reveals that New Zealand stands to benefit from a US$47 trillion prize in Asia Pacific. But that is only if the region decarbonises at pace and scale to prevent a US$96 trillion loss over the next 50 years.

The insights in the report are informed by D.CLIMATE, an economic model which integrates economic impacts of physical climate change into the baseline trajectory – different to many economic models that do not factor in climate change in the baseline.

D.CLIMATE provides further insights and uses, including how we view and act on the New Zealand Climate Change Commission recommendations. This tool can also be used to identify how different sectors will be impacted by the Climate Change Commission’s recommendations, and ultimately the Government’s policy decisions, as well as wider economic effects of climate change legislation.

By moving now with bold action, we have a unique opportunity to create a new engine for sustainable economic prosperity. We can turn our greatest threat into our most exciting growth opportunity, creating new industries and thriving communities, but we need to act now!

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