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Climate Policy Cop-Out

Tuesday 30 April 2002

The Government's failure to introduce a carbon charge in the near future is a major cop-out that will harm the economy, the environment and society, says the recently formed Climate Defence Network.

Jane Dawson, speaking for the network of transport, recreational, medical, resource management, international development and environmental organisations, said "The Government's prescription for climate protection makes it too easy for polluters to avoid doing anything to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

"The measures that the government is putting forward are little more than 'pollution as normal' with a bit of window dressing. The Negotiated Greenhouse Agreements lack credibility. No one should be fooled by these - they are simply special concessions for big polluters."

"Too much dependence is put on the soft option of relying on carbon stored in new forests to balance our national carbon account. That will be of no help when real cuts are asked of us in the future."

"There is no guarantee that the New Zealand Transport Strategy will deliver any benefits in terms of climate change policy since it has yet to go through the consultation process, where it will be vulnerable to more pressure from the 'business as usual' polluters."

"The Government's policy preferences are too close to the polluters' preferences. Climate policy will move behind closed doors, since the decision on who is to be classified as an at risk industry is going to be carried out in private. The public must have a say in this."

"Negotiations on the Greenhouse Agreements will also be in private. The public may see the result at the end but have no effective participation in the process."

The Climate Defence Network welcomes the restated intention to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, but says that overall the proposed policy response is too weak to feel there is a serious commitment on the part of the Government to achieving the goal of stabilising the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

"Climate change will be the issue of this century. Greenhouse gas emissions must be cut for the sake of the planet, for New Zealand's future and for the sake of the Pacific. Historians will judge this Government an environmental failure on the basis of just this announcement, if it becomes the ultimate policy", says Ms Dawson


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