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Latest climate change report shows action scope

Tuesday, 06 March 2001 Media Statement

Latest climate change report shows scope for action

The latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows the world has realistic options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, says Pete Hodgson.

Mr Hodgson, the Convenor of the Ministerial Group on Climate Change, was responding to the IPCC report released last night from Accra, Ghana, that reviews the technologies and policies available for reducing or limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

The report says a broad array of technologies and policies should be used to limit the growth of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.

"Energy efficiency, renewable energy sources, changes in behaviour such as transport choices, and new industry technologies must all be combined to reduce New Zealand's emissions," Mr Hodgson said.

"It is a striking feature of this report that energy efficiency technologies and practices in buildings, transport and manufacturing make up more than half of the potential global emissions reductions it identifies.

"Many of the adaptations the report mentions are directly relevant to New Zealand's first draft National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy, which is due to be released for public comment by April 1. The strategy will consider how to encourage more use of energy saving technologies and the development of renewable energy sources.

"Saving energy through changing our behaviour as consumers and making use of new technologies make simple economic sense. The direct benefits are often greater than the installation costs, while at the same time we become les dependent on fossil fuels."

Over the next few months the Government would be widening consultation with all sectors of New Zealand society on how to tackle climate change, Mr Hodgson said.

"We can improve our energy efficiency, tackle transport emissions and foster renewable energies. We can consider putting a price on carbon dioxide emissions, encourage major industry emitters to take responsibility for their greenhouse gas emissions, plant more forests to absorb carbon and strengthen and redirect our research. In fact the lesson from the IPCC is that we must look for a combination of such measures, because no single measure will do the job by itself."

The latest IPCC report is the last of three major reports to be released this year. The first, in January, covered observed and projected changes in climate and showed that greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans made a substantial contribution. The second, in February, covered climate change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation. It revealed that climate change had already affected biological systems and that major changes in agriculture, health and infrastructure could be expected in the future.

A summary of the latest report is available at www.ipcc.ch/

ENDS

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