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Climate change work programme

4 July 2006

Climate change work programme

Minister Responsible for Climate Change Issues David Parker today released government papers on energy and energy efficiency, and a report looking at the government's direction on climate change policy.

"Across the world, countries are grappling with the challenges posed by dramatic price increases, constraints on traditional fuels supplies, and the impacts of climate change. They are all closely related," Mr Parker said.

"The government is looking at its long term policy settings around climate change. There has been much focus on the Kyoto protocol response for 2008 ? 2012. While this remains important, it is only a subset of climate change.

"We are looking at how New Zealand can meet the challenges to our economy, environment and way of life posed by climate change over the coming decades. Accordingly, the focus of the work programmes is first and foremost on the long term.

"The does not mean that short term initiatives such as improving the efficiency of our vehicle fleet, enhancing building standards and encouraging forestry are not important. But they must be consistent with long term policy settings.

"Changes to the climate in the next 20 to 30 years are determined by greenhouse gas emissions which have already occurred or are inevitable, so it is important that we plan for and adapt to the unavoidable effects which are on their way.

"NZ is a biologically based economy vulnerable to unstable climate. There is little doubt that New Zealand's climate will become more unstable in the years ahead. Climate variability in the future is expected to bring more drought to already drought prone areas and more floods to those areas of NZ already vulnerable.

"A wide range of people are affected by climate change and the policy responses we are developing. Over the coming months, Ministers and officials will be engaging extensively with the various groups affected as we progress towards final policy decisions.

"There are no easy answers to the problem posed by climate change. The government is looking at a wide array of measures."

Mr Parker said the work on climate change policy was entwined with the work being done on the New Zealand Energy Strategy and the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy.

He also released an update on preparation of the new NEECS, together with the terms of reference for the NZES. A draft of the NZES is expected to be published in September, following which public submissions on it will be sought.


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