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Government adopts Green Party climate change ideas

18 December 2006

Government adopts Green Party climate change ideas

The Green Party is pleased the Government has picked up some of the party's proposals to address climate change from land management in its discussion document Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change.

Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says last year the Greens' environment policy proposed a levy on nitrogen fertiliser, a source of both water pollution and greenhouse gases, with the revenue recycled into assistance for farmers to improve their environmental performance.

"Now this idea forms one of the measures in the Government's consultation document.

"The suggestion that this revenue be used to assist with the cost of nitrogen inhibitors, to slow the rate at which ammonia from animal wastes and nitrogen fertiliser are turned into nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas, and nitrates that leach into water, is a positive suggestion that the Greens support," Ms Fitzsimons says.

"The Government is also looking at carbon offset schemes for increases in emissions from livestock, as the Greens suggested last March in our climate change document Turn Down the Heat.

"Overall, the Government's discussion paper raises a comprehensive set of options for addressing the hardest part of climate change, our emissions from farming; and the most controversial, the emissions and sinks from forestry.

"While eventually a full carbon trading system is desirable, at this stage it would be far too complex to impose on farmers. We should choose the simplest fastest acting measures in order to get something going now. These are likely to be simple charges for pollution and grants for absorbing carbon.

"We have delayed far too long tackling these issues. It is barely more than a year till Kyoto takes effect and we are liable for our emissions. Yet this is still just a consultation paper and the final policy will be some months away. We need to get on with it," Ms Fitzsimons says.


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