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Labour, National slow to confront climate change

Labour, National slow to confront climate’s inconvenient truths

Media Release. October 6, 2006.

Labour and National’s climate change statements today show that while they have belatedly started to recognise the problem they still seem unable to provide the political leadership for the urgent responses that are needed, the Green Party says.

“Our emissions are 21% ahead of our Kyoto target. We are one of the worst per capita emitters in the world; and the evidence about climate change is piling up fast – and these grim realities call for decisive political leadership,” says Russel Norman, Green Co-Leader.

“My challenge to both National and Labour is this: If they are really serious about reducing our greenhouse emissions then will they stop the proposed Marsden B coal-fired power station in Whangarei? It's ridiculous to talk about reducing our emissions on the one hand and allow a new coal-fired power station on the other. We don’t need more hot air, we need action.

“It’s good that David Parker continues the policy work, and I congratulate him on fighting the good fight in Cabinet and on working with the Greens on energy efficiency.

“However, except as a carbon storage method, lots of Government policy papers won’t reduce carbon dioxide levels.

“After seven years of Labour-led Government I am worried by the ongoing lack of urgency and the limited outcomes.

“It’s good that National have moved into the 21st century by acknowledging that human-induced climate change is happening, and I congratulate Nick Smith in particular for getting his leader to read some science.

“But the emissions trading scheme that National are proposing is limited and must meet three criteria:

· The cap must not be set so high that it has no meaning

· The cap must rapidly sink over time, to reflect the urgency of the situation

· The transport and agricultural sectors must be included.”

“We need a price put on carbon emissions urgently, and we need to prioritise investment in public transport. Labour and National still have a long way to go.”


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