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Castalia Report: Need to Focus on Forestry Sinks

MEDIA STATEMENT

Monday 17 October 2005

For Immediate Release

Castalia Report Shows Need to Focus on Forestry Sinks

A report by leading strategic consultants, Castalia, showing it would be impossible for New Zealand to reduce carbon emissions without seriously undermining our economy, is further evidence previous climate change policy was flawed in not encouraging carbon sinks, the Kyoto Forestry Association said today.

“If we can’t substantially reduce emissions without destroying our economy, we need to increase sinks such as forestry – which would also boost our economy and encourage regional development,” KFA spokesman Roger Dickie said today.

Mr Dickie said policy over the last six years had done the opposite.

“Poor policy, including the expropriation of carbon credits rightfully owned by foresters, has driven new forestry plantings down to zero from the 65,000 hectares per year experienced in the mid-1990s. This means we are producing no new forestry sinks at all, whereas forestry could be contributing to reducing the $1 billion Kyoto bill confronting the taxpayer, and creating jobs in the regions.”

Mr Dickie said KFA joined with Castalia and the Greenhouse Policy Coalition in urging the Government to have a complete re-think about how it was implementing Kyoto.

“Climate change is real and we have to do something to slow or reverse it,” he said. “But taxing households, while letting SOEs and big business off the carbon tax, will do nothing to reduce emissions. And failing to respect foresters’ ownership of carbon credits will do nothing to encourage sinks. A re-think, based around using market mechanisms to encourage sinks and discourage emissions, is clearly needed.”

Mr Dickie said KFA was encouraged by open-minded comments made by Caretaker Climate Change Minister Pete Hodgson this morning, and by progress being made in the forestry industry’s confidential dialogue with officials on how to encourage greater plantation forestry.

ENDS

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