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ARC opposes ‘backward step’ on climate change

ARC opposes ‘backward step’ on climate change

18 May 2006

The ARC says the Resource Management (Climate Protection) Amendment Bill does not go far enough towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“In its current form, the Bill presents itself as only an interim measure,” says Paul Walbran, Chair of ARC’s Regional Strategy and Policy committee.
“We support its intent; however we believe the Bill represents a backward step in a process which has been proven to be ineffective in delivering greenhouse gas reductions.”

“If the Government is committed to supporting sustainable development and resilisent adaptive responses to climate change, it needs to develop a national policy framework encouraging local consistency and priority,” he says.
“It is unreasonable to reintroduce inefficient and costly mechanisms at a regional level, where there are no expected benefits.”

The ARC is submitting its opposition to the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Resource Management (Climate Protection) Amendment Bill, which repeals sections earlier enabled by the Resource Management Act (Energy and Climate Change) 2004 Amendment Act.

The ARC had supported the 2004 amendment as it removed the ability of councils to consider the effect of greenhouse gases on climate change when making rules and approving discharge permits.

This, says Cr Walbran, was clear and accurate recognition that the issue needed addressing at the national level.

“Government has done an about turn, when we really need to be moving forward and developing national controls.”

“Climate change is a national and global issue. Regional controls, through regional plans and air-discharge consents process cannot be effective without national controls - there absolutely needs to be national consistency,” he says.

“We’ve got Kyoto targets and such things as cross-boundary issues, which are not adequately addressed in the RMA – failure to deliver on these will mean failure to deliver on any real greenhouse gas reduction and further confusion and cost for all involved,” he says.

The ARC has long been pushing for the development of a National Policy Statement and sector-based reduction targets, as well as infrastructure and implementation actions enforceable on a national basis.

A significant amount of carbon dioxide is emitted within the Auckland region, estimated at around 9000 kilotonnes/year (2004).

The primary sources of these discharges are transport (48%), industry (46%) and domestic (6%).

The great majority of the industrial sector discharges are from fossil-fuelled energy production for heat and electricity.

Cr Walbran stressed that the issue is crucially important. “Measures for the control of air discharge and climate change protection are instruments we will use for the benefit of all Aucklanders – but we urgently need clear national direction,” he said.

For more information please call
Paul Walbran, Chair, Regional Strategy and Planning Committee, ph 021 886 723
Greg Hill, General Manager, Policy and Planning, ph 366 2000 x7033
Glyn Walters, Communications Team Leader, ph 366 2000 x8114

What the ARC wants from central government:

- Clear reduction targets for emission producing sectors
- An equitable target setting system for individual discharges of greenhouse gases
- Incentives for the efficient transmission and use of energy
- Incentives for the efficient production and harvest of energy (reduced rate of emission per unit of energy)
- Positive reinforcement systems for the development of renewable energy generation facilities and co-generation plants
- Positive reinforcement systems for reduction of any greenhouse gas emissions including CO2 and methane
- Remediation options for greenhouse gases particularly through the development of carbon sinks
- A discussion of the implications of forest planning on future generations, particularly with respect to land-use priorities and the definition of perpetuity
- Clarification of the carbon sink abilities of plantation forests compared with other land uses such as indigenous vegetation and pasture.

Ends

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