High World Ranking for Climate Change Work

Jun 30, 2017

A tiny research organisation from New Zealand has ranked tenth in the world for climate change work internationally and second for think tanks outside of Europe and North America.

Only six staff from Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Trust work in the area of climate change economics and policy. However, the standardised ranking of the International Center for Climate Governance (ICCG) has recognised Motu as world leaders in conducting research and influencing policy.

“It’s a real honour to be acknowledged with such a high ranking,” said Suzi Kerr, a Senior Fellow at Motu and leader of many climate change projects. “The ICCG took into account our performance in conducting high quality research and our role in influencing climate-related and energy policy internationally.”

“One area we worked especially hard in was around shaping New Zealand’s low-emission future. We brought diverse groups together to find solutions to hard questions that affect this country both long and short-term,” said Catherine Leining, a Policy Fellow at Motu.

Another success for Motu included co-leading the process that resulted in the publication of ‘Emissions Trading in Practice: a handbook on design and implementation’ for the World Bank Partnership for Market Readiness and International Carbon Action Partnership. The handbook has now been translated into Spanish, Chinese, and Turkish.

“The Handbook synthesizes input from over 100 practitioners and experts from four continents, reflecting both the latest theoretical insights and best practices from existing emissions trading systems. It provides a generically useful approach to policy design that can be used straight off the bat in places like Egypt, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico. Best of all it will help those countries design a system that will work for their local conditions,” said Dr Kerr.

“We are also applying our international experience at home, looking at how the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme can best work going forward,” said Ms Leining. “Some of this work and other Motu research fed into GLOBE-NZ, a cross-party group of 35 Members of Parliament which commissioned UK-based Vivid Economics to prepare a study on low-emission pathways for New Zealand.”

“Our work is not just in New Zealand, however,” said Dr Kerr. “We are now using what we’ve learned about emissions trading with researchers from Colombia, the United Kingdom, the US and Chile in order to design an emissions trading system for Colombia.”

Other areas of climate change policy studied by Motu researchers include the mitigation of biological emissions from agriculture and the impacts and implications of climate change on stormwater/wastewater, insurance and coastal housing, and flood-prone communities.

In order to be included in the ICCG Think Tank Rankings, a research organization must comply with the following main criteria:

  • It must conduct both research and dissemination activities.
  • The final objective of its activities must be a practical policy solution.
  • Policy makers and experts must be its main targets. The general public must be involved only as a means to influence policy makers.
  • Its projects and partners list must be updated and well-defined.
  • Its activities must be focused on climate change economics and policy.

More information on the ranking can be found here.