18 May 2008
National’s Response to the Greenhouse Challenge Really, Really Disappointing
The Environmental Defence Society has slammed National’s back-down on support for the proposed emissions trading scheme as “extremely disappointing and a major let-down for those who thought it really had changed its stance on key environmental issues.”
EDS Chairman, Gary Taylor, who is also a member of the Climate Leaders Forum, says that the announcement today by John Key that National will not support the emissions trading bill and wants it deferred to the next Parliament comes as a complete surprise to him.
“Up to now National has been staunch in its support for urgent action on climate change, in spite of the relentless lobbying by some big businesses. Delay now leads one to question whether the agenda is for National to comprehensively weaken the scheme or even abandon it altogether,” said Mr Taylor.
“Climate Change is the biggest challenge facing the planet. I am aware that some National caucus members do not accept that and deny the science. If this decision shows that they have the ascendancy then we are in dire straits indeed.
“We have already had Labour weaken the scheme last week by delaying its application to fossil fuels and extending the phase-out period of taxpayer support for sectors deemed to be at risk. In my view even that was going too far. Given that, it just isn’t credible for Mr Key to claim that there would be an exodus of at-risk companies now that support will continue through to 2025. It is already a really, really slow and exceptionally generous transition to full obligations.
“It looks like National has chosen to listen to big business rather than the wider public. What they have done and the reasons given for that are exactly what the Greenhouse Policy Coalition has been advocating. Big business has won.
It is major change of direction for National and really undermines my confidence in their commitment to progressive green policies.
“But the fundamentals of the emissions trading scheme are still fine and we must put a price on carbon if we are to make the transition to a low carbon economy. One can only hope that other parties in Parliament will stand up and support the Bill,” Mr Taylor concluded.