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Practical help for local govt. on climate change

26 July 2004 Media Statement

Practical help for local government on climate change

Further action has today been announced by Convenor, Ministerial Group on Climate Change, Pete Hodgson, to help local government deal with climate change.

"Today we launch Preparing for Climate Change, a practical guide for local government to help it play its full part in identifying and preparing for the effects of climate change," says Pete Hodgson.

"It would be irresponsible for government at any level to fail to respond to the threat of climate change. Action is being taken on two fronts. The first is to reduce the causes of climate change, through reducing emissions of greenhouse gases; the second is to better prepare ourselves for its physical impact such as increased flood risk."

The Guide is complementary to the Climate Change Effects and Impacts Assessment report published earlier this year by the Climate Change Office, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority’s (EECA) EnergyWise Councils Partnership and the forthcoming Communities for Climate Protection programme. It is part of a toolbox of resources for councils including case studies, information and technical guidance and covers three main areas:

1. projected changes in climate and extreme weather events
2. climate change related obligations and practical methods to assess likely impacts, and
3. practical advice on how best to integrate climate change into natural hazard management, land-use planning, building regulation, and infrastructure decision-making.

The launch of the guide coincides with the Ministry of Economic Development's release today of the latest report of greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector. This shows a year on year increase over 2002 for the common basket of greenhouse gases is 3.9 per cent, on a carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent basis.

"Despite this increase, New Zealand remains one of the few countries with a comprehensive policy response to address its Kyoto commitments. A suite of government policies; across agriculture, electricity production, energy efficiency, industry, transport, waste and local government to reduce emissions, are now starting to reduce emissions as measured against business as usual, and contribute towards establishing a permanent downward path for total gross emissions by 2012."

ENDS

Climate Change Office
Part of the Ministry for the Environment, the Office develops policy and works with government and across the private sector on climate change initiatives.

Project to Reduce Emissions Programme
Through this programme, emissions units can be awarded to projects, such as windfarms and biofuels, that would otherwise not go ahead as they would not be economically viable that will contribute to a net reductions in greenhouse gas emissions against business as usual. The programme is on track to deliver a total CO2-equivalent abatement of around ten million tonnes.

Agriculture and forestry
The agriculture sector accounts for around half of all New Zealand climate change gas emissions. The government and sector groups have established a research partnership with the aim of cutting sector emissions of methane and nitrous oxide emissions from livestock by at least 20 percent by 2012. Incentives are also available to establish permanent forest sinks.

Transport
More money than ever before is being spent on cutting congestion, improving public transport and on reducing car use, so reducing emissions.

Emissions Charge
Government intends to introduce an emissions charge of no more than $25/tonne from 2007. Such a mechanism will directly link the cost of emissions to consumers of fossil fuels.

Local government – NZ Communities for Climate Protection
The Climate Change Office is working with local government to assist councils in preparing for the likely impacts of climate change. Government also supports individual council participation in the international Communities for Climate Protection Programme.

Industry - Negotiated Greenhouse Agreements
Government has instigated 'Negotiated Greenhouse Agreements' to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the adoption of emissions best practice to protect the international competitiveness of New Zealand businesses.

Energy – National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy
There has already been significant growth in renewable energy as a result of the Projects to Reduce Emissions programme. Wind generation is also going through a period of unprecedented growth. More money than ever before is also being invested in energy efficiency both through EECA and the Electricity Commission.

Research
Government funded research is taking place in climate change science, its impacts, our adaptation needs and opportunities to reduce emissions.

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