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Report leaves Labour/National no room to hide

UK climate report leaves Labour/National no room to hide

The Green Party has applauded the release in the United Kingdom of a major report on the economic costs of climate change by the former World Bank economist Sir Nicholas Stern, and has welcomed it as a call to action for political parties here in New Zealand.

"This report strips away the economic excuses for inaction that Labour and National have offered us in the past. The likes of John Howard, George Bush and Don Brash have told us that we shouldn't embrace the Kyoto protocol, because it might cost us money. Now, Sir Nicholas Stern is making it clear that local and global economies will be severely damaged to the tune of trillions of dollars if the world doesn't quickly reach internationally binding agreements on climate change emissions.

"New Zealand, with its farming, forestry and fishing heavily dependent on climate stands to lose more than most.

"The political reality is the general population and even elements of the business press are far ahead of the thinking within mainstream parties, and among departmental officials.. The political horse has bolted on climate change. I'm sure Labour's newly discovered enthusiasm over climate change and sustainability has been inspired by its own focus groups saying that it's time Government was doing something.

"Locally, the proposed firing up of Marsden B power station will be a good test of the Government's resolve. Despite Queensland Premier Peter Beattie's prominent role at.the Labour Party conference in talking about climate change - ironic, given that Queensland is a major coal exporter - there is no ' clean coal' option for Marsden B. The technology to capture and store carbon emissions doesn't exist.

"The Green Party welcomes the fact that the reality of climate change is now widely accepted. Clearly, the public want to see a response from politicians and the business community that is equal to the scale and urgency of the problem, but as yet the public's expectations have not been reflected in genuine action.

"Business as usual will not be sufficient. New Zealand's distance from its global markets puts this country at risk of being seen as a carbon emitting trader, and our produce risks being made subject to 'climate change premiums.'

"It will take genuine and forceful action by the Government to turn around such perceptions, and make its worthy ambition of making New Zealand a leading sustainable player on the world stage into anything more than a convenient political slogan."


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