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National irresponsible to Repudiate Kyoto

Wellington - Thursday 16 June 2005 - Media Release

Global Warming must be addressed:

National irresponsible to Repudiate Kyoto and carbon charge

It would be irresponsible to the planet, to our kids, our businesses, and economy for National to repudiate the Kyoto Protocol and the carbon charge, says the environmental coalition ECO.

ECO was reacting to National Party Leader, Don Brash, saying National would back out of having a carbon charge and possibly the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change.

"A carbon charge is one of the least-cost, most market-focussed and economically efficient means of getting cost-effective reductions in our greenhouse pollution - we need to bring it on," said Cath Wallace, spokesperson for the Environment and Conservation Organisations of the New Zealand, ECO.

"New Zealand's international standing would be damaged if we backed out of Kyoto. It is part of the deal that developed countries do their bit from 2008-2012 so that other countries will come to the party in future commitment periods from 2013 on.”

Cath Wallace said the latest news on New Zealand possible future emissions means that Kyoto is needed more than ever, and the carbon charge is vital.

The Government announced today that New Zealand emissions are now estimated to rise by 30% against the 1990 Kyoto benchmarks, while our carbon credits for forests will be much less than estimated during the first period for greenhouse gas reductions (2008-2012).

"The latest news that New Zealand's reliance on forestry credits, rather than ensuring reductions in pollution emitted is not working, is not a reason to do less, but to do more.”

“National is doing a vast disservice to New Zealand businesses and farmers by lulling them into thinking that we can walk away from the climate problem. We can't.”

“There is overwhelming evidence that not only is it already upon us, but by not taking action now, we will increase the costs to ourselves. Businesses in the UK, Europe, Japan and even the USA and Australia have recognised that they must confront reality, factor it into their decisions, and adjust.

“It is a fool's game to encourage denial or to break the only international agreement that we have: the Kyoto Protocol.”

Cath Wallace, who is an economist and public policy specialist, says that the government needs to change its "smokestack growth" targets in favour of smarter national targets.

"We need to back off the coal fired power station strategy and more roads in favour of genuinely renewable energy, smarter transport and communications solutions, more use of peak power demand management, the closure of really big greenhouse gas emitters like Comalco's aluminium smelter, and rapid introduction of incentives to reduce fossil fuel use, methane production and to enhance energy efficiency.”

ENDS

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