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NZ falling behind in climate policy development

29 March 2006

NZ falling behind in climate policy development

Wellington, Wed 29 March, 2006: The Climate Defence Network (CDN) today challenged the New Zealand government to catch up with the rest of the world and get serious about tackling climate change, following the latest international developments on climate policy revealed at the Climate Change and Governance Conference in Wellington.

Britain's Prime Minister, Tony Blair, said the UK has recognized the importance of - and has put a price on - carbon pollution. The UK has done this through a climate change levy and involvement in the EU emission trading scheme. These policies are among the drivers which will allow the UK to meet and better its Kyoto target.

"It is clear that if NZ is going to tackle climate change and meet its Kyoto target we also need to get a price on carbon and greenhouse pollution in our economy, through either a carbon charge or an emissions trading scheme," said Greenpeace climate campaigner Vanessa Atkinson, on behalf of CDN.

Kirsty Hamilton, Climate and business consultant from the UK, told the conference that business needs signals that are "loud, long and legal," like a carbon tax or emissions trading, so that they can make the investment decisions that will deliver the necessary emission reductions.

She said that the Carbon Disclosure Project – a group of 211 institutional investors representing over US $31 trillion worth of funds, are investigating how well companies understand and are prepared for climate change. This year they will be examining the top 50 NZ companies including energy companies Contact and Trustpower.

Jeff Fiedler from the Natural Resources Defence Council in Washington informed the conference of the strong domestic action in the US.

"Many US states have adopted mandatory policies and emission reduction targets, despite inaction at the federal level. This places many American states ahead of NZ in terms of addressing climate change," said Melanie Hutton from WWF on behalf of CDN.

Action in both Kyoto and non-Kyoto countries, as revealed at the conference, indicates that NZ has been left behind in its climate policies.

"This sends a powerful message to New Zealand to get our climate policy in order rapidly and to implement strong measures, including putting a price on greenhouse pollution," concluded Ms Atkinson.

********

CDN is a network of organisations and individuals concerned about the need to prevent destabilising climate change. It includes: ECO, the Environmental Defence Society, Forest & Bird, Federated Mountain Clubs, Friends of the Earth NZ, Greenpeace NZ, WWF, Pacific Institute of Resource Management, Cycling Advocates' Network, Public Health Association, Ecoaction, Alternative Technology and Lifestyle Association, Nelson Environment Centre, Engineers for Social Responsibility, MedEco, and the Sustainable Energy Forum.

ENDS

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