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New Zealand's Kyoto Integrity At Stake

New Zealand's Kyoto Integrity At Stake

Statement from Steve Abel, Greenpeace campaigner

Whangarei—23 February 2005

It is extremely concerning that the Government does not consider a near-doubling of our C02 emissions from coal-fired power stations an issue of national significance.

However, we will stand alongside the public and fight this all the way to ensure that Marsden B doesn't happen.

Thermal generation is the single biggest cause of an increase in New Zealand C02 emissions in the last year. Huntly has increased its C02 emissions by over 400% since 1990.

New Zealand is currently at 22% above our 1990 levels of C02 emissions. How on earth does the Government think we're going to meet our Kyoto commitments and get to zero by 2012 if it takes no action to stop projects like this?

It is also of concern that the Government is using its proposed carbon tax as an excuse to allow a power plant to emit millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide. If a State Owned Enterprise can simply pay the carbon charge and still go ahead with the country's first coal-fired power station in 25 years, this raises major concerns over the effectiveness of the tax.

While we support the carbon tax, it was not designed to be used in this way. It was designed to /reduce/ our emissions, not increase them.

The wind industry says that wind could be producing 1000 MW of electricity by 2010. But the Government's short-term, crisis management of our electricity supply means that it looks to big, dirty power projects like Marsden B as a resolution, putting clean energy projects like wind on the back burner.

In this age of the certainty of climate change, the Government must take this matter in hand and define a national sustainable strategy which places wind and other renewable energy projects at the forefront of our energy solutions – and says no to coal.

It is also an insult to the communities of Whangarei and Northland that the Government doesn't consider further increases in sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, heavy metals and dioxins a matter of national significance.

Our climbers are still on the roof of Marsden B. We will be discussing this latest development with the three activists occupying the roof.


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