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More delay is the last thing we need: Greens

18 May 2008

More delay is the last thing we need: Greens

John Key's approach to climate change policy has all the urgency of a methane-emitting cow chewing its cud, Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

"He criticises Labour, fairly enough, for aiming at the moon and failing even to get airborne. So instead he has set a far off target - of a 50 percent reduction in 2050 - and isn't even aiming at getting airborne," Ms Fitzsimons says.

There is no action plan, no concrete steps, no call to arms on this, the worst environmental threat faced by humanity. Instead he wants to slow down and criticise everyone else.

"Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has said recently that the issue is so urgent that what we do in the next four years will be critical. National proposes to do nothing in the next four years and Labour proposes little more.

"What matters is what any prospective government will do in the next term. That is what they can control. Far off promises are just so much hot air. Meanwhile carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are rising faster than they ever have - more than 2 percent a year - and we have seen unprecedented droughts, floods and storms. The oceans are getting more acid and the ice is melting.

"The ETS needs to be beefed up, not slowed down. That is what the Greens are trying to do through the select committee process.

"Successive NZ governments have been making policy - then throwing it out - for more than a decade since 1997 when Kyoto was negotiated.

"It's time for action.

"The ETS needs action on two fronts: It needs to be more effective - with agriculture taking some responsibility sooner - and it needs to be made fair, with small and medium business not discriminated against (the Greens agree with National on this one) and with government revenue from windfall electricity profits recycled into major assistance to improve the energy efficiency and lower the bills of households and small business."


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