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No Progress Yet Towards Kyoto

Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons today said that the latest annual report on New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions showed that carbon dioxide emissions are growing as fast as ever.

" We are falling even further behind in our international obligations to the Kyoto Protocol and there is still no climate change policy," said Ms Fitzsimons.

New Zealand is obliged under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce its greenhouse emissions to 1990 levels by 2008-2012. Overall gross carbon dioxide emissions from the energy and industrial process sectors have increased by 22 percent between 1990 and 2000, with a 2 percent increase in 1990-2000.

"The Government still does not have strategic answers to the rising electricity demand. There is no policy to encourage renewable energy technologies such as wind power, to make real breakthroughs in reducing road transport emissions, or to capture methane emissions from gas fields and energy exploration.

"Even in the last year of high rainfall, full lakes and maximum hydro generators, our carbon emissions increased by 2 percent. That means transport emissions have increased even faster and are now 44 percent of total carbon dioxide, "she said.

Ms Fitzsimons said that the Government had missed the train in relying on road transport - road transport generates 39 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions in New Zealand.

"Successive governments have relied in reductions in methane emissions from cattle and sheep to balance this increase in CO2. But huge increases in dairy needs and recent sustained high prices of beef are certain to lead to rises in methane as well," she said.

New Zealand contributes 0.2 percent of the world's emissions, 55 percent of New Zealand's emissions come from methane and nitrous oxide in farm soil.

"The public should be informed about the increase of methane emissions. And without exact figures how can we talk about our consistent climate change policy and international obligations?

"All this indicates that the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy must set high and firm targets, particularly for the growth of renewable energy, and for reduction in the use of transport fuel," said Ms Fitzsimons.


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