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New Atmospheric Research Centre Opens

26 June 2000 Media Statement

New Atmospheric Research Centre Opens

Associate Minister for the Environment Phillida Bunkle opened a new Centre for Atmospheric Research in Christchurch today.

The centre has been set up by the University of Canterbury to co-ordinate departmental research, enhance teaching, promote high quality research, develop national and international collaborative links including data exchange, and to increase public awareness and education into atmospheric processes.

"The increasing role of economic analysis in air quality management also needs to be considered. This need is especially highlighted by the situation here in Christchurch where there is great concern over proposed actions to ban open fires," the Minister said.

"These concerns have highlighted the socio-economic impact on those who find it to be their only affordable heating option.

"It's of paramount importance that we have centres such as this to help us bridge the gap between science and policy."

Ms Bunkle said it was good to see efforts being made in the area of air quality studies. She commended the work being done by local authorities in trying to manage air pollution but indicated she was disappointed that better results were not happening sooner.

"There is enough evidence to say air quality in Christchurch is not acceptable and needs to be improved . . . additional research will help provide a clearer picture and ensure more effective policy-making decisions."

Ms Bunkle said reducing air pollution was no longer a concern for only industries – communities and individuals also need to take responsibility, as New Zealand moves to meet the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.

"This commits us to take responsibility for reducing greenhouse emissions back to 1990 levels by the year 2010." Ms Bunkle said New Zealanders needed to think how they as individuals could make a difference in addressing climate change.


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