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Youth protest changes to ETS with ‘chainsaw massacre’

Youth protest changes to ETS with ‘chainsaw massacre’ at Parliament

24 October, 2012

Youth organisation Generation Zero held a mock ‘chainsaw massacre’ outside Parliament today to protest about changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme going through the House and show the likely consequences of the Government’s actions.

Onlookers watched as villains with toy chainsaws attacked a group of people dressed as trees, as the group pretended to film a scene of “NZ Chainsaw Massacre 2: Death of the ETS”.

The demonstration highlighted that the Government’s plans for the ETS are paving the way for a new wave of deforestation - a sequel to the so-called chainsaw massacre that preceded the introduction of the ETS and added tens of millions of tonnes to New Zealand’s carbon emissions.

The Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading and Other Matters) Amendment Bill is scheduled for its second reading in Parliament this afternoon.

“The ETS is broken, but rather than taking steps to fix it, this Bill will freeze it at current weak settings,” said Generation Zero policy coordinator Paul Young. “This will keep future carbon prices so low there is almost no incentive to reduce emissions, to plant new forests to store carbon, or even to halt deforestation.”

Mr Young said that what is missing from the Bill is probably the most critical aspect for the legislation. “There are no steps to limit the use of foreign carbon credits, as called for by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, forest owners, and environmental groups.

“New Zealand will have the only ETS in the world without such limits and will continue to be the dumping ground for cheap, dodgy credits that cannot be used anywhere else. These have flooded our market and driven the effective carbon price down to almost $1/tonne, destroying any domestic climate action.

“The combined effect of the Government’s actions will be essentially the same as killing the ETS altogether, it’s ‘lights, camera, inaction’.”

Mr Young spoke at the demonstration along with Labour climate change spokesperson Moana Mackey and Green climate change spokesperson Dr Kennedy Graham, whose parties both oppose the Bill, and Dr Russell Tregonning of OraTaiao: New Zealand Climate and Health Council.

Moana Mackey said:

“I have written to all parties seeking their support for an amendment in my name which would require 50% of units surrendered in New Zealand to be domestically sourced. Such a move would not automatically result in an excessively high New Zealand carbon price as has been suggested. But it will send an important signal to the forestry sector that the New Zealand Parliament wants to live up to the promise made that the Government sees them as a critical player in our efforts to address climate change.

“There is no evidence that the benefits of the low carbon price are being passed on to consumers – the primary argument for not restricting international units.”

Generation Zero urged Peter Dunne and the Maori Party to oppose the Bill in its current form and only support it with restrictions on foreign carbon credits and a phase-out of the “transition phase”.

“For the ETS to make a meaningful contribution to climate action in NZ we need to follow other countries by putting a cap on the use of foreign carbon credits, and start strengthening the scheme from 2013 as originally planned,” said Mr Young.

ABOUT GENERATION ZERO:

Generation Zero is an independent youth organisation seeking to catalyse action on climate change and work towards creating a zero carbon Aotearoa. For more information see:
www.generationzero.org.nz
www.facebook.com/GenerationZero

MORE INFORMATION:

Brian Fallow, Sequel to chainsaw massacre sequel looms: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10836723

Previous Generation Zero press releases on the ETS amendments:

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1210/S00328/facts-before-falsehoods.htm (19/10/12)
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1210/S00290/b-grade-ets-sets-stage-for-chainsaw-massacre-sequel.htm (18/10/12)
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1209/S00368/generation-zero-supports-foresters-demands-to-fix-ets.htm (27/9/12)
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1209/S00249/ets-needs-to-phone-home-select-committee-told.htm (19/9/12)

ENDS

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