Carbon tax doesn't reflect urgency on climate: Greenpeace
Wellington, 4 May 2005: The carbon tax, while a welcome baby step, will not stop polluting, coal-fired power projects like Marsden B and our greenhouse gas emissions will still continue to climb, Greenpeace said today.
"Scientists warn we only have ten years to act on climate change and the Government has acknowledged this urgency. Yet they have set the carbon tax at a level they know will be ineffective and then capped it there for the next seven years," said Greenpeace climate campaigner Vanessa Atkinson.
The Government also today acknowledged that the carbon tax would not stop coal-fired power stations.
"Mighty River Power is utterly undaunted by the threat of a carbon tax, and is still proceeding with its plans to build New Zealand's first major coal-fired power station for 25 years. So now we're looking at an energy future powered by coal with nothing to stop it."
When the government stopped local authorities from being able to consider greenhouse gas emissions (1) it pointed to the carbon tax to pick up the load and promised other policies to fill the gap.
"The carbon tax isn't going to cut it and any other strong policy has yet to materialise."
New Zealand needs real policies to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, which should include a sustainable energy strategy, policies to encourage renewable energy and energy efficiency as well as national standards on carbon dioxide emissions.
Ms Atkinson said Greenpeace looked forward to hearing announcements in the Budget, which should include tax incentives for renewable energy and energy efficiency measures as part of the money raised by the carbon tax.
A few weeks ago, Europe's environment ministers indicated that the necessary greenhouse gas emission reductions by developed countries must be between 15-30% for 2020 and 60-80% for 2050. Europe is taking the lead, and once again New Zealand is being left behind.