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Govt Congratulated On Climate Change Decisions

NEWS RELEASE: 8 MAY 2000

GOVERNMENT CONGRATULATED ON CLIMATE CHANGE DECISION

Rising costs for those who use fossil fuels are an inevitable result of today’s announcement by the Prime Minister that New Zealand will ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, the Ecologic Foundation said today.

The Government was to be congratulated on the decision, which means legislation and policies to reduce emissions will be in place by mid-2002, said Guy Salmon, executive director of Ecologic.

“New Zealand’s emissions will be reduced to the allowable amount under the protocol primarily by increased energy efficiency, and by changing the mix of fuels used in the economy. These changes will need to be driven along by significant government-imposed charges for fossil fuel use, especially on coal,” he said.

Mr Salmon said there had been much talk of reducing emissions to the allowable amount by voluntary measures without any cost, but that has proved to be unrealistic.

“No Western country met the initial, voluntary commitment of stabilizing its emissions at 1990 levels by the year 2000, and it is generally recognized now that either a carbon charge or a tradable permit system will be needed to provide the incentive for businesses and individuals to change their practices.

“It is clear therefore that the special Cabinet committee being established today will have to develop proposals for charging those who use fossil fuels, although the charges could increase gradually over a number of years.

“The Government’s decision comes at an important time, as it will provide leadership to other countries that are dithering over ratifying the Kyoto protocol.”

…ends

For further information please phone Guy Salmon on 025 201 3033


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