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Carbon charge removal short-sighted

Media release 22 December 2005

Carbon charge removal short-sighted

The New Zealand government’s announcement to not implement a carbon tax is short-sighted, says WWF-New Zealand.

This decision clearly undermines the government’s commitment to meeting Kyoto Protocol targets and fails to address the very real and urgent need for action.

“The carbon tax would have sent a clear signal to the whole economy that carbon pollution has a price,” says Melanie Hutton, Climate Change campaigner.

“If the original structure of the tax wasn’t going to cut emissions enough, why not modify and improve it so that it did, rather than abandon it altogether?”

Despite going through a rigorous, democratic process to design the charge, it has now, without public consultation, been dropped. By the time new policy initiatives are developed New Zealand will be significantly further away from its Kyoto commitments.

“Climate change is already happening. It’s costing us as a nation. Solutions must include a charge for carbon – if you carbon pollute, you pay,” says Ms Hutton.

Halting climate change can only be achieved through significant and rapid reductions in carbon emissions. Nature is hitting back, unprecedented weather records across the world including New Zealand clearly shows that climate change is real and steps must be taken now.

EDITOR’S NOTES:

Scientists at the U.N. conference on climate change announced this unprecedented litany for 2005:
- The hottest year, with the global average temperature already slightly warmer than 1998, the current record year.
- The most Arctic melting, with satellite photos showing the smallest area ever remaining covered by perennial sea ice at the end of summer.
- The worst Atlantic hurricane season, with the most named tropical storms (26), most hurricanes (14), most top-category hurricanes (5) and most expensive hurricane damage.
- The warmest Caribbean waters, with weeks-long high temperatures causing extensive bleaching of coral reefs.
- The driest year for many decades in the Amazon, where a continuing drought may surpass anything in the past century. The western United States is also suffering from prolonged drought.

In 2005, New Zealand ranked eighth highest among developed countries in global greenhouse gas emission increases since 1990. Greenhouse gas emissions have risen by 22.5% in the past 15 years. This was significantly higher than the United States with a 13.3% increase and just behind Australia with a recorded increase in emissions of 23.3%.

WWF is now known simply by its initials and the panda logo

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