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Greens implement climate change measures

Greens will implement climate change measures Gov has three times failed to action

The Green Party will push to implement greenhouse gas emission constraints that the Government yesterday backed away from - the third time in five years it has done so.

Yesterday Environment Minister Simon Upton backed away, for the third time, from taking any action on constraining greenhouse gas emissions when he released the Climate Change Domestic Policy Options statement.

Ms Fitzsimons said New Zealand's greenhouse gases had risen by 30 per cent since 1990, despite pledges to drop them by five per cent. It was one of the world's highest greenhouse gas increases.

"My Energy Efficiency Bill was stalled by the Government in the last Parliament and I will make sure it is passed as part of a comprehensive response to climate change in the next Parliament," she said.

The Minister yesterday announced about $150,000 of extra energy efficiency funding but this paled into insignificance alongside the Government's cuts of more than three million dollar in energy efficiency funding over the past two years, Ms Fitzsimons said.

Transport accounts for nearly 40% of New Zealand's CO2 emissions. Ms Fitzsimons said Transport Minister Maurice Williamson's claim today that building more roads would solve Auckland's transport problems was just a recipe for more congestion and more CO2.

"The Minister ought to be embarrassed, he knows better than this. Auckland's transport problems need investment in public transport and a serious effort to help people use their cars less."

She said the Minister's roading follies would just increase Auckland's problems by encouraging more traffic.

"'Just one more road' - it's the cry of an addict!"

Ms Fitzsimons said Green transport policies, its commitment to energy efficiency and a carbon tax - part of switching taxes from income to pollution, offered a balanced response to our global responsibilities.

"A stable climate is crucial to much of our economy - agriculture, tourism, forestry. So, it is essential we get the climate back on a stable footing.

"Climate change is one of the biggest challenges we face. Even National agrees it is a serious environmental problem. The difference is that we are actually proposing some action," Ms Fitzsimons said.


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