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Greenpeace applauds thermal moratorium

Auckland 4 December 2007–

Greenpeace applauds thermal moratorium

Greenpeace today congratulated the Government for leading the way on renewable electricity with a ten year moratorium on thermal generation.

"This is unprecedented internationally," said Greenpeace climate campaigner Susannah Bailey. "It will help New Zealand defend its clean green image, which has become increasingly tenuous of late.

"The ban sends a clear message to power generators that fossil fuels have no part to play in New Zealand's future, and we're confident the next ten years will demonstrate that the security of supply caveat (1) is unnecessary and that it's time we also began a phase-out programme for all existing thermal generation.

"We're already generating 70 per cent of our electricity from renewables and we have some of the richest and widest renewable energy sources in the world. Last year Greenpeace commissioned a major report into sustainable energy which found that we can achieve 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2025 whilst maintaining security of supply (2).

"What opponents of a thermal ban fail to acknowledge is that there won't just be environmental gains from moving from fossil fuels to renewables, but also significant economic and social gains.

"The Greenpeace report shows that in the long run, renewable energy will be cheaper than conventional energy sources and will reduce New Zealand's dependence on imported fossil fuels, which will only get more and more expensive.

But Ms Bailey qualified her support for the Bill with disappointment over the Government's flagship climate change policy – the emissions trading scheme – also part of the legislation being tabled in parliament today.

The emissions trading provisions follow two months of consultation with business, NGOs and key stakeholders. Ms Bailey said none of the changes proposed by Greenpeace have yet been made and she looked forward to revisions during the legislative process.

She said the Climate Change (Emissions Trading and Renewable Preference) Bill as it stands will not deliver the emissions cuts necessary for New Zealand to do its bit in tackling climate change.

"The emission trading scheme's success in terms of emissions reductions depends almost entirely on the introduction of tight international controls on greenhouse gas emissions. The Kyoto negotiations taking place in Bali this week are the start of that process.

"The moratorium on thermal generation puts the New Zealand delegation in a credible position to go in to bat for the climate at Bali. But if the New Zealand delegation is to maintain this credibility, they must commit to emissions cuts of at least 30 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 and at least 80 per cent by 2050.

"How the delegation performs at Bali represents a major test of the Government's long term commitment to tackling climate change."

(1) The 10 year restriction on new baseload fossil-fuelled thermal electricity generation applies, except to the extent required to ensure the security of New Zealand's electricity supply.

(2) - The New Zealand Energy Revolution: How to prevent climate chaos - http://www.greenpeace.org/new-zealand/press/reports/nz-energy-revolution-report

ENDS

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