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Climate change report exposes govt inaction

Hon Nick Smith MP
National Party Climate Change spokesman

10 April 2007

Climate change report exposes govt inaction

“The Government should be deeply embarrassed at the lack of action and policy in the wake of today’s major United Nations report on climate change”, says National’s Climate Change spokesman Nick Smith.

“This report identifies quite catastrophic impacts for the climate over the next century, yet New Zealand’s emissions and deforestation are growing at record rates.”

Under Labour, New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions increased by 1.2 million tonnes per year between 1999 and 2006 compared to 0.8 million tonnes per year under National from 1990 to 1999. This 6.8% growth for New Zealand under Labour compares to growth of 1.3% in the United States, 5% in Australia and a drop of 1% in the United Kingdom.

“The Government has talked carbon neutrality but overseen the building of new oil and gas fired power stations and a trebling in the amount of electricity produced from burning coal,” says Dr Smith.

“Labour is the first Government in 50 years that is chain sawing more trees than are being planted. The rate of deforestation at over 10,000 hectares per year is a climate change disaster.”

“Climate change policy has been one botch-up after another with the billion dollar bungle over New Zealand’s Kyoto balance, the debacles over the animal emissions levy and carbon tax, and the abandonment of the projects to reduce emissions and negotiated greenhouse gas agreements with major industry.

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“This Government has been long on rhetoric about climate change but incredibly short on action.

“National wants a tradable emissions permit system that will cap and then reduce emissions. We want foresters to receive credits for the carbon absorbed from the trees to reverse the record rate of deforestation. We would also toughen up on the building code to improve energy efficiency, encourage more fuel efficient cars and provide incentives to farmers to use more climate friendly fertilisers.

“National’s ‘Bluegreen’ approach to climate change is about making it worthwhile for households and businesses to reduce emissions and plant trees.”


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