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Greens Send Some Positive Signals, Say Foresters

Wednesday 28 September 2005

Greens Send Some Positive Signals, Say Foresters

The Kyoto Forestry Association (KFA) says there were some positive signals from the Green Party at the party’s business briefing last night.

“The Green Party leadership was clear that New Zealand Inc needs to pay for sequestered carbon and other environmental benefits from forestry,” KFA spokesman Roger Dickie, who attended the briefing, said this morning. “They also stressed that they are not interested in promoting more subsidies or red tape. These comments by the Green Party leadership are a small but positive step forward to a more economically-sensible and environmentally-friendly approach to the implementation of this vital international treaty, compared with what we have seen from the previous Government over the last three years.”

KFA, which represents the interests of forest owners who have risked their capital to plant more than 600,000 hectares of new forestry in New Zealand since 1989, is urging the Greens to lead the debate within the new Government on using market mechanisms to implement Kyoto, to achieve better environmental outcomes than the old ‘tax-and-subsidise’ approach, while removing all financial risk from the taxpayer.

In particular, KFA is urging the new Government to base Kyoto policy on the principle that those who have reduced emissions or created sinks should earn financial instruments that those who pollute are then required to buy. In this way, there would be a clear incentive to reduce emissions or create sinks, and a clear disincentive to pollute. The Government would be involved only as regulator, delivering positive environmental outcomes, with no risk to the taxpayer.

Mr Dickie said market approaches such as this were envisaged by world leaders when they negotiated the Kyoto Protocol and are being used or considered in other pro-Kyoto jurisdictions including the EU and Japan.

He said KFA strongly supported the Kyoto Protocol. “Global warming is a major threat and is caused predominantly by increased levels of carbon dioxide and methane gas in the atmosphere. Reducing carbon emissions and promoting carbon sinks, including maintaining established forests and promoting new forest plantings, are essential elements in the fight against global warming.”

ENDS

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