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Climate Change Policy A Little Improved

Climate Change Policy A Little Improved But Still Lacking

“Too late and not a clear enough signal, is the Environmental Defence Society’s reaction to the Government confirming its carbon charge would not start until 2007 and the failure to put a floor price on the charge.

“Until the real cost is clear no-one will take this seriously and start factoring in the cost of greenhouse gas pollution into their business and lifestyle decisions, said Garry Law, EDS director and climate spokesperson.

“There has been no cap put on the funding of negotiated greenhouse agreements with industry. These will give licenses to pollute at reduced cost. To put a cap on project funding for reductions but not cap the other is just unbalanced said Mr Law. All this has the hallmarks of a government awash in emission credits, buying industry silence rather than taking tough decisions to make real gains.

“The announcement that the first round of emission reduction project funding will be in 2003/04 is welcome and provided the funds are not niggardly it may go some way to getting some early action on reductions, reductions which are not likely to come soon from the feeble fiscal measures and the removal of any immediate RMA threat on limiting emissions.

“The review of the RMA in respect of energy efficiency and renewable energy is welcome. For long term gains it is vital to be making the right structural decisions now so our cities consume less energy in future. The direction is currently lacking. The proposed move to take climate considerations out of greenhouse gas emissions planning and consents by Regional Councils has been signalled for years. It is high time it was fixed, but it must be balanced by real incentives for early action.

“The renewable energy target of an increase of 30PJ per annum by 2012 was still a soft target, said Mr Law. One of 40PJ would have been more of a challenge.

“At least the language has changed. The draft proposal called 30PJ a ‘“stretch target’. It was never that and that language gave an excuse to under-perform. The commitment to 30PJ is at least firm.

“EDS welcomed the commitment to fund permanent carbon sinks through indigenous forest revegetation. We look forward to this being material. It is a real win-win opportunity for New Zealand’s and the world’s environment.

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