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Govt puts trade deals ahead of climate change

Government puts trade deals ahead of climate change action

Green Media Release 15th November 2006

The Green Party is calling on the Government to use the APEC meeting in Vietnam to push a position that only OECD countries that have signed up to binding international greenhouse gas reduction treaties like Kyoto should be allowed to sign up to international trade agreements.

“Climate change is an urgent international problem requiring international solutions and we can’t afford to reward free riders like Australia and the US,” says Russel Norman, Green Co-Leader and Trade Spokesperson.

“If they won’t sign up to binding international greenhouse gas reductions then they should not be allowed improved access to the markets of other countries who have agreed to cut their emissions.

“Why should companies operating in countries that are reducing their emissions be forced to compete against imports from other countries that externalise the cost of their greenhouse pollution onto the whole world? And how will we convince non-OECD countries to sign up to a binding climate protection treaty when two of the worst polluters refuse to sign up and get away with it.

“Michael Cullen in Parliament today made it clear that the Government had no intention of making action on climate change a precondition for action on trade negotiations, or even advocating this position at APEC.

“So it’s business as usual – trade deals are what really counts and the environment is just window dressing for domestic consumption.

“They don’t get it – if we don’t take action on climate change then all the trade deals in the world won’t reduce the economic, social and environmental costs of climate change, that's the message of the Stern report. It’s a bit difficult to load all those exports when you’re port facilities are underwater.

“Only when climate change is seen as at least as important as the holy grail of trade will we know that the Government is serious about climate change.”

ENDS

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