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New Zealand hosting World Environment Day

Hon Trevor Mallard
Minister for the Environment

5 June 2008 Media Statement

New Zealand hosting World Environment Day

Environment Minister Trevor Mallard said it was a pleasure and an honour for New Zealand to be hosting such a significant international event as today's World Environment Day.

"This is the first time New Zealand has hosted the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) event since its establishment in 1972. The theme for this year’s World Environment Day is ‘kick the carbon habit’ and focuses on opportunities for countries, companies and communities to make the transition to a low carbon economy and lifestyle," Trevor Mallard said.

"Climate change is one of the biggest environmental issues facing the world today and this annual event is an important recognition of today’s global interdependence and the responsibility that we all share for securing the welfare of our planet and its people for today and tomorrow.

"As one of the first countries with a stated goal to work towards a carbon-neutral future, New Zealand is a logical choice to host the event this year.

"As we work towards carbon neutrality, our programme involves a goal of generating 90 per cent of our electricity from renewable sources by 2025, and halving our per capita transport emissions by 2040. To incentivise climate-friendly behaviour we are introducing an emissions trading scheme, which includes all sectors and all gases, an energy strategy, and also tackling climate change at the household, business and science and research levels.

"There are economic opportunities for New Zealand if we take the lead on climate change and big economic risks and costs if we don’t. New Zealand can profit by creating efficient and sustainable products the rest of the world wants to buy and we can also demonstrate leadership in the area of pastoral emissions.

"Agriculture, which includes livestock, is an important sector in New Zealand's economy, and New Zealand is already a world leader in agricultural research. We are now turning our expertise towards research to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, including methane from livestock – which accounts for about half of our greenhouse emissions.

"While New Zealand’s capital city Wellington will play host to the main UN World Environment Day events, local communities are undertaking their own environmental activities throughout the country through more than 120 community and school-based events. There are huge numbers of New Zealanders involved in celebrations, and this is a fantastic indication of this country’s drive towards sustainability and reducing the impacts of climate change," Trevor Mallard said.


ENDS

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