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Key’s comments undermine Select Committee

Key’s comments undermine Select Committee
March 03, 2009

Auckland, New Zealand — Greenpeace has declined to appear before the Government’s climate change committee, saying John Key’s comments in the latest Investigate magazine show the process is a farce (1).

“Mr Key implies that climate change might not be happening. To the best of my knowledge, he’s the only leader in the world to think this, let alone say it publicly. His comments are dangerous and likely to make New Zealand a laughing stock," said Greenpeace climate campaigner Simon Boxer.

"Key’s comments go a long way towards explaining why New Zealand currently has no plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

Boxer said there had been more than enough talk over climate policy in New Zealand; what’s needed is action. “New Zealand is now effectively alone within progressive OECD nations in having no formal climate change policies on the table. We have no credible programme whatsoever for tackling this growing global crisis.”

Greenpeace has a copy of a Ministry for the Environment discussion paper dated 1990 that canvassed options for tackling climate change, including market mechanisms such as emissions pricing or an emissions trading scheme (ETS). Eighteen years on New Zealand has made little progress.

“This is irresponsible and embarrassing,” said Boxer. “Particularly as countries like the US start to put in place some very strong packages to address climate change and bring their emissions down.”

Greenpeace engaged in the first consultation process over the ETS and was part of the climate change leadership forum. “This current review is just fiddling while Rome burns.”

He said the last round of consultation had shown the true colour of big business in New Zealand. “The response by a number of our industries – many of whom will be economic liabilities in a low carbon global economy - was self interested, myopic and simply failed to see the economic, social and environmental opportunities inherent in the ETS.

“And the relatively small contribution the ETS will make to the overall effort required by New Zealand to make a credible contribution to tackling climate change is insufficient for Greenpeace to justify spending further time on it,” said Boxer.

“If our political leaders don’t act soon, future generations of New Zealanders are going to turn around and ask: ‘how could you have done nothing, when you knew what was at stake?’ There is no time left for delay.”

Greenpeace is calling on the Government to commit to a 30-40 per cent emission reduction target by 2020, to be signed at Copenhagen in December.

Notes to Editor

(1) “The important point is that there is flexibility built into the system so that if the science either firms up considerably more, or deteriorates, and the climate sceptics are right, we have the ability to alter the impact on our economy.” – “Man at the Helm” – page 7, Investigate Magazine, March 2009


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