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Emissions trading good for air, water and land

29 April 2008 Media Statement

Emissions trading also good for air, water and land

An independent report finds the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme will produce important benefits for air, water and land, as well as for the climate. There will also be some challenges to manage.

Climate Change Minister David Parker says he welcomes the report, prepared by a team led by the Cawthron Institute. The report identifies the high-level environmental impacts of the emissions trading scheme and associated policies, ways to deal with these impacts, and terms of reference for further environmental assessment work.

“The report points out that actions taken under the scheme to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions will also assist the environment in other ways.

“For example, the scheme will encourage forest plantings, thus reducing soil erosion, supporting biodiversity in some areas and improving water quality. Reductions in fossil fuel use are expected to improve air quality and human health. In the longer term, the scheme should also reduce land-use intensification.”

The report also identifies the potential for some negative environmental consequences that could occur without careful management, the Minister said.

“For example, policies to promote forestry could have a negative impact on biodiversity, if exotic forestry displaces indigenous vegetation. The report also points to increased pressure on land and water resources to generate renewable electricity.

“In this way the report confirms what we already know, namely, that in addition to the emissions trading scheme, complementary measures will continue to be important in reducing New Zealand’s emissions and improving air quality, land use, biodiversity and water supply,” David Parker said.

“These include policies such as the New Zealand Energy Strategy, New Zealand Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy, Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change Plan of Action, New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy, and Sustainable Water Programme of Action, as well as the Resource Management Act.

“This report will help the government prioritise its climate change policy work. It also provides a platform from which to build a long-term climate change strategy that is better for New Zealand’s environment.”

The full scoping report can be found on the Climate Change Solutions website at www.climatechange.govt.nz/nz-solutions/trading-scheme-reports.shtml
See also: www.cawthron.org.nz

ENDS

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