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Emissions reduction targets all unaffordable

Emissions reduction targets all unaffordable

The emissions reductions targets being debated are extremely important and we cannot afford to have them set by a campaign led by celebrities, the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) says.

The '40% cut by 2020' being promoted by Greenpeace cannot be afforded by New Zealanders, and neither can we afford the 15 per cent reduction hinted at by Climate Change Minister Nick Smith," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.

"The '40% cut by 2020' campaign trivializes the seriousness of the emissions target cuts facing all New Zealanders," Mr Thompson said.

"This issue is not about sloganising to raise the popularity of local actors, or building the brands of carbon-rich consumer imports.

"Both so called options will cost far more than the big majority of kiwis will be prepared to pay, or can afford to, when they realize the costs to them.

"The facts are that '40% by 2020' from 1990 levels really means cuts to current emission levels of 63 per cent; the 15 per cent reduction could really mean cuts in current emissions of about 38 per cent.

"No way is either scenario affordable without savage cuts to our standards of living. They are politically unacceptable.

"New Zealanders need to hear from government research how much a 40 per cent, or a 15 per cent cut to emissions would mean to individual kiwis.

"We know what private sector research by Infometrics has found, and that is a 40 per cent cut by 2020 below 1990 levels would equal:

* If we got rid of all major industry, emissions would be reduced by 11 per cent (i.e. closing down NZ Steel, the aluminium smelter, and all forestry and dairy processing)

* If we got rid of all vehicles, emissions would be cut by 20 per cent

* If we switched entirely to renewable electricity production, we'd cut emissions by 11 per cent (and no thermal generation back up ie many outages).

"The total is a cut in current emissions of 42 per cent in 10 years! Not enough even to reach the Greenpeace slogan.

"We expect the government to lead a clear and affordable way through this most serious challenge, and certainly not go beyond a final commitment of cuts to emissions of four per cent in 2020 to match Australia's."


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