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Stay staunch, or give it back, Helen

5 May 2008

Stay staunch, or give it back, Helen

If the Labour government backtracks on its climate change policies yet again, Helen Clark will have no option but to hand back to the UN her prestigious 'Champion of the Earth' award, Green Party Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

"Cabinet is said to be discussing delaying the Emissions Trading Scheme, or giving big industry an even greater holiday. If that happens the Green Party will offer the Prime Minister a replacement award to hang on her wall instead - the "Climate Ditherer's Award".

"The Government's slogans "carbon neutral" and "sustainable" will look even more ridiculous than they already do should the Emissions Trading Scheme join the list of abandoned or delayed Government climate policies, like the animal research levy and the carbon tax.

"The Government should show real leadership and continue to place a price on carbon for all players in the economy, and do it more fairly than the current Emissions Trading Scheme proposes," Ms Fitzsimons says.

"The Green Party are appalled that every time the realities of living outside the planet's limits start to affect incomes and profits, there are deafening calls to further asset strip the environment, until the very end.

"Rather than trying to deny the reality of what it costs to provide food, energy and transport, we must raise the incomes of those who are most vulnerable - beneficiaries and those on the minimum wage. "They are as capable as anyone else of using energy wisely if they have an incentive to do so, but their incomes are simply not enough to cope in a time when the ecological chickens are coming home to roost.

"Oil prices are rising because oil supply is peaking and extraction is becoming more expensive. Food prices are rising because it takes oil to produce grain, and because most of the world's grain is fed to animals rather than people, and some is now being foolishly converted to biofuels. Climate change is reducing food production and raising the cost of home insurance.

"These are the inevitable results of successive governments which have encouraged us to live beyond what the environment can provide. "For the sake of our children, we need to invest now in industries that will survive and prosper in a world of high priced and scarce resources.

That won't happen unless we allow the pricing signals to work.

"We are the last generation with the chance to get it right. We must not sacrifice the future to avoid change now."

ENDS

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