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Positive start on climate policy – test to come

Positive start on climate policy – real test to come

*Auckland**, Tuesday 4 July 2006**:* Greenpeace says there are many positive aspects, including the important role of renewable energy in the Government’s recently announced climate and energy policy programmes. However, there are also some areas of concern which could distract attention away from the main issue – getting our greenhouse gas emissions down.

“At the end of the day, the test for the work programme will be the policies that come out the other side. These policies must include emission reduction targets, binding measures to get us there, a price on carbon and greenhouse pollution and a commitment to move New Zealand to 100% renewable energy in the electricity sector,” said Greenpeace Climate Campaigner, Vanessa Atkinson.

“The Government has indicated that 100% renewable energy in the non-transport sector could be a goal for New Zealand. Greenpeace urges the Government to adopt a goal for 100% renewable electricity sector by 2020 in its final climate policy package.

“It is also excellent that the Government has acknowledged the importance of putting a price on greenhouse pollution which is needed to drive investment in clean technologies to get our emissions down. We urge this to be a component of the final policy package,” said Ms Atkinson.

The climate and energy policy programmes also includes substantial work on preparing for climate impacts – or “adaptation” to climate change.

“While adaptation is an important area, we are concerned that too much emphasis on this could be a distraction from the real challenge – lowering our greenhouse gas emissions. The focus needs to be on prevention, not cure,” said Ms Atkinson.

Unfortunately, the Government has also indicated some enthusiasm for non-binding international agreements on climate change, like the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (AP6). (1)

Kyoto is the only internationally legally binding agreement with targets, timelines and tools to drive emission reductions. We need to remain focused on Kyoto.

“It is important to take time to consult and develop policies to get our response to climate change right and this has to be done in a time frame that reflects the urgency of the threat. Scientists warn we have only 10 years to act. Greenpeace applauds plans for thorough consultation and it is in everyone’s interest to get behind the programme and engage in developing effective climate policy,” concluded Ms Atkinson.

ENDS

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