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UN highlights ongoing climate change failure

Nick Smith MP
National Party Environment Spokesman

21 November 2007

UN report highlights ongoing climate change failure

New Zealand’s record of ever increasing greenhouse gas emissions in the just released United Nations report makes a sick joke of the Government’s carbon neutral rhetoric, says National’s Climate Change spokesman, Nick Smith.

“Our emissions are increasing, not decreasing. The part that is so embarrassing is that our emissions are going up four times the rate of the average for the developed world. It is also worrying that the rate of increase this decade is 50% higher than in the 1990s.”

The report states that New Zealand’s emissions have grown from 69 million tonnes in 1999 to 77 million tonnes, a 12% increase. This compares to increase of 8% for Australia, 5% for the United States, 2% for Japan, and a decrease of 2% for the United Kingdom. The average increase of Annex 1 countries (OECD) from 1999 to 2005 was 3%.

“This report confirms the failure of Labour to meet its campaign pledge of a 20% reduction in emissions by 2005.

“The report is even more concerning in its projections of greenhouse gas emissions into the future. It notes ‘by country projected changes in total aggregate GHG emissions from 1990 to 2010 under the ‘with measures’ scenario, vary greatly..from a decrease of 46.4% (Lithuania) to an increase of 81.3% (New Zealand) for GHG emissions with LULUCF.’ This means that New Zealand is projected to be the climate change bad boy under current policy. This is an appalling indictment for a country that claims to be clean and green.

“This UN report is a harsh wake-up call on just how difficult it is to reduce emissions and how far the world has to go to constrain greenhouse gases. It shows that even halting the growth in greenhouse gases is a huge policy challenge.

“This highlights a gaping hole between Labour’s talk and its record on climate change. National’s approach of a more realistic goal of a 50% reduction by 2050, but more action to achieve it, is the best way to move forward.”



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