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Getting real on climate change

Friday 8 July, 2005

Getting real on climate change

Auckland, Friday 8 July, 2005: Greenpeace today called for some sanity in the debate over New Zealand's potential Kyoto deficit, following the release of new report by Pricewaterhouse Coopers which calculated that it may cost $1.2 billion to meet our Kyoto obligations.

"This is bordering on the ridiculous – the entire debate following the revelation that New Zealand may not meet it's Kyoto target has assumed that we will do nothing further to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions," said Greenpeace climate campaigner Vanessa Atkinson.

"But let's get real - New Zealand must reduce it's emissions urgently to help avoid dangerous levels of climate change. If we fail to do that, we will face the double whammy of having to buy carbon credits as well as paying the costs of increased floods, droughts and other climate change impacts."

"Debating how much carbon credits may cost us is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. We need to be discussing ways to tackle climate change – the biggest threat the planet faces, by cutting our emissions. This means increasing renewable energy generation, stopping climate-polluting projects like Marsden B coal-fired power station, increasing energy efficiency and improving public transport."

"We can't afford not to act on climate change. Global insurance company Swiss Re has estimated that extreme weather events from climate change will cost ₤150 billion every year from 2014. In New Zealand, the $400 million damage from the floods last year and the devastating costs of droughts are just a taste of things to come if we don't cut our emissions."

As for Nick Smith's comments that political uncertainty around the Protocol was worrying for business, he is clearly out of touch with much of the business community. Members of the business community around the world are pushing for more action on climate change.

Just over a month ago, business leaders from thirteen major UK and international companies including HSBC, BP and Shell urged the UK Prime Minister for "urgent action" on climate change, offered to work in partnership with the Government to strengthen progress on cutting emissions (1).

Notes: (1) The Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change, HRH The Prince of Wales Business and the Environment Programme, Letter to Tony Blair and press release, 27 May, 2005.

ENDS

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