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ETS: Thank god that's over; now to the climate...

ETS: Thank god that's over; now back to the climate…

Auckland 10 September 2008 – Greenpeace is calling on political parties to outline their future plans for tackling climate change, now the emissions trading scheme (ETS) has been passed into law.

"We welcome the passing of the bill, not so much because of the calibre of the legislation, as for the fact politicians can stop squabbling over it and get on with implementing stronger, more immediate climate policies," said Greenpeace Executive Director Bunny McDiarmid.

Greenpeace has long argued that the scheme is too generous to agriculture and other big polluters and won't result in the deep emission cuts needed to tackle climate change. But it believes something is better than nothing.

"The ETS is a small but necessary step towards New Zealand making a valid contribution to this global crisis," said McDiarmid.

"But now the ETS fanfare must stop. Political parties must quit their rhetoric and tell the country what other policies they're proposing to reduce emissions.

"In other countries where emission trading schemes are in place, the schemes are viewed as one small part of a much broader package of solutions.

"The risk is that people in New Zealand now think the hard work has been done. This is chillingly far from the case. The ETS will actually do very little in the short to medium term to reduce emissions.

McDiarmid said a good example of a complimentary policy which would help put a dent in emissions was the renewable electricity target contained in the legislation. "This is a huge break through and significant internationally."

She also praised the investment in energy efficiency and conservation negotiated by the Green Party.

Greenpeace is calling on all political parties to set an emission reduction target of 30 per cent by 2020, and put in place the policies to meet it.

"This target is within the range of 25- 40 per cent signed up to by developed countries - including New Zealand - at the Bali negotiations last year. But to date we've seen nothing on the table that will actually get us there.

"Agriculture must be brought into the ETS before 2013 with, complimentary policies to encourage low intensity agriculture."

Greenpeace is also calling for a halt to deforestation for dairy farming, which is putting a quarter of the country's entire plantation at risk.


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