Carbon deficit needs urgent action
Auckland, 16 June, 2005: Greenpeace today called for urgent action by the Government in response to new figures that show New Zealand will miss its Kyoto target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, by over 36 million tonnes.
"This is very disturbing news and requires urgent steps by the Government to make real reductions in our greenhouse gas emissions instead of endless lip service coupled with inaction," said Greenpeace climate campaigner, Vanessa Atkinson.
"They have laid the blame for the greenhouse gas blow out on transport emission increases yet have completely ignored the alarming 473% (1) increase in carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants between 1990 and 2003."
"How can the Government possibly justify not raising the level of the carbon tax now? They have set it at a level they know will be ineffective and capped it there for the next seven years, even when they acknowledge that it would not stop coal-fired power stations like Marsden B."
"Yet the Government have refused repeated asks to call-in the Marsden B proposal, opening the way for the first major coal-fired power station in the country for 25 years. Will the New Zealand Government respond to this news of our carbon shortfall by ignoring significant climate change-causing projects? Apparently, yes."
This news comes as climate change is at the top of the global political agenda with the upcoming G8 in London. Meanwhile even the US media has woken up to climate change this week, and Bush is under increasing pressure to act on this urgent issue, the latest call for action coming from Arnold Schwarzenegger.
"It's time to get serious about climate change in New Zealand. Climate change will cost the country millions in impacts of droughts and floods on agriculture, damage to coastal properties from sea level rise and in health effects."
While Greenpeace is heartened to see that the Government remains committed to the Kyoto Protocol, this must be translated into strong policies if we have any hope of meeting our obligations. The steps the Government has promised today fall well short of the mark.
We urgently need a sustainable energy strategy for New Zealand to make a transition to renewable energy sources and energy efficiency conservation requirements, with a phase out of coal and fossil fuel electricity generation and an increase in the carbon tax.