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Green Party wants commonsense emissions trading

29 April 2008

Green Party wants commonsense emissions trading policies

Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons welcomes the release of the Cawthron Institute's environmental assessement of the emissions trading policy.

The report into potential environmental effects of the Government's proposed Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) recommends stronger energy efficiency measures and further research to protect New Zealand's natural resources. A key point is encouraging early emissions reductions from the agriculture sector before their official 2013 start date within the ETS.

Agriculture, along with transport, is a major source of carbon dioxide emissions. And further intensification of land use is likely before 2013.

"Waiting five years before agriculture is brought into the scheme just allows more land for conversion to dairy, and emissions such as methane and nitrous oxide could bloom before charges kick in," Ms Fitzsimons warns.

The report confirms the Greens' position that the ETS alone will not be sufficient to reduce emissions and that complementary measures are essential.

"Pricing of the emissions trading scheme is not enough and some complementary measures are required. At present agricultural emissions are subsidised until 2013 by the taxpayer, so that emissions from any kind of intensification are paid by the taxpayer. It's vital that changes start now to avoid land use patterns that are unsustainable and costly to reverse.

"Afforestation must go on low quality marginal lands - not where regeneration is already happening. Land that qualifies to be forested under the Kyoto agreement, land that was bare in 1990, may not be bare now, but regenerating with native känuka and mänuka that provides a lot of biodiversity. Replanting with exotics would be a misguided measure on this land. We do need to plant more forests, but on marginal and eroded land that is not suitable for farming."


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