INDEPENDENT NEWS

National accountable on climate change - in 43 yrs

Published: Mon 14 May 2007 08:21 AM
National accountable on climate change - in 43 years time!
"No-one currently in Parliament will be there to take responsibility if John Key's '50 by 50' target on climate change is not achieved. It is a 'do nothing' recipe for the next few decades, by which time climate change will be unstoppable," said Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons.
"That's what happened in 1997 when New Zealand accepted a target for the period 2008-12 but did nothing for a decade. The Greens support having long term targets, but it is essential to have milestones along the way to measure progress and to ensure that something happens.
"National's announcements today lack the information that would make them meaningful. It is impossible to evaluate the effect of a cap and trade system until we know what the cap will be, how fast it will reduce, and how permits to trade will be allocated. Will they just be issued to current polluters?
"Like Labour, National is silent on these issues. Yet unlike Labour, National do not even acknowledge these points are critical - and nor does Mr Key even set himself a timeline to answer such questions.
"Nick Smith has campaigned incessantly on stopping the de-forestation of existing forests, yet Mr.Key offers no policy to achieve this. Like Labour, he will use some credits to incentivise new planting - but unless de-forestation is reduced, there won't be many such credits to allocate.
"It is disappointing Mr. Key does not mention any government investment in energy efficiency or in low carbon infrastructure such as public transport or home insulation. Such things will not be brought about by carbon trading - and a carbon trading system alone will not save taxpayers from the big Kyoto bill in 2012.
"There are some steps forward in the Key speech that the Greens do welcome. Kyoto is to be honoured, a long term target is set, trading is to include all sectors, investment in reducing agricultural emissions is to be increased, and he is at least talking about per capita emissions as an appropriate measure for New Zealand.
"However it is clear that the overriding goal is faster economic growth and if this conflicts with climate change policy it is the climate that will be sacrificed. This has been clearly reflected in Maurice Williamson's ranting about roads: : 'Roads generate growth, modern transport runs on roads, and New Zealand doesn't have enough of them.'"
"The Greens are still the only party to have a policy that makes emitters pay the bill in 2012, produces a fund that can be used to invest in climate protection and adaptation, and prepares us for greater action after 201, ." Ms Fitzsimons says.
ends

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