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New Zealand Must “Fast-Follow” US Climate Plan

New Zealand Must “Fast-Follow” US Climate Plan

President Obama's announcement of a United States climate plan will test whether the National Government is still at all serious about its claimed "fast follower" approach to climate change, says youth climate change organisation Generation Zero.

In a speech in Washington, DC, this morning, President Obama announced a climate change plan, the centrepiece of which is a proposal to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants, which currently emit about 40% of the United States’ carbon pollution.

The plan also included a directive to permit enough renewables projects on public land to power an added six million homes by 2020 and a suite of measures aimed at encouraging energy efficiency in appliances, housing and transport.

Generation Zero spokesperson, Paul Young, says: “This announcement is yet another example that countries around the world are getting serious about building low-carbon economies. If New Zealand doesn’t get moving, we’ll be left behind.”

Earlier this month, New Zealand was called out internationally by the head of the UN climate negotiations, Christiana Figueres, for its failure to even lodge a formal emissions target for 2020.

Mr Young: “We are starting to look like the odd one out when it comes to climate change policy.”

New Zealand's lack of a coherent strategy to reduce emissions was highlighted in a recent global study, the Renewables 2013 Global Status Report, which showed that New Zealand is the only high income country in the world without any renewable energy support policies aside from our target for 90% renewable electricity by 2025.

Mr Young: “The Government's undermining of the ETS means today it is delivering a carbon price signal of less than 10c per tonne, rendering New Zealand's only significant climate change policy effectively useless.”

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Jan Wright has said this "makes a farce of our climate change commitments".

Mr Young: “To do our part in global efforts and to maintain our clean green image, New Zealand needs to follow President Obama’s lead and enact a comprehensive climate strategy with a range of measures to reduce emissions.

“Even a fast follower needs to get going once the US, the Australia and the EU are all moving.”

To find out more about how New Zealand can do this, come along to Generation Zero’s nationwide speaking tour: http://generationzero.org.nz/whatstheholdup.

• Renewables 2013 Global Status Report, at pg 80: http://www.ren21.net/Portals/0/documents/Resources/GSR/2013/GSR2013_lowres.pdf
• Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Jan Wright’s comments: http://www.pce.parliament.nz/media/media-releases/ets-changes-a-farce-environment-commissioner/

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