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Govt takes next steps to fight climate change

Rt. Hon Helen Clark

20/09/2007

Government takes next steps to fight climate change

Prime Minister Helen Clark and other ministers today outlined plans for an emissions trading scheme and for new forestry and environmentally friendly land management initiatives.

"There is strong public sentiment for measures to reduce New Zealand's impact on climate change. The Labour-led Government has carried out extensive consultation with many sectors of the economy. Today we are focusing on the solutions," Helen Clark said.

"Climate change is one of the most important global issues facing us. It affects us all, and our way of life. Taking action against it is not only the right thing to do; it is also the smart thing to do. Sustainability is a key competitive advantage. To protect our markets and our nation's reputation, we need to act pre-emptively.

“Our plans have been driven by the need to be fair to all sectors of the economy, while ensuring that our nation as a whole reduces pollution from greenhouse gases.

“An emissions trading scheme is a significant part of our plan. It is important that we put a price on greenhouse gas pollution to encourage businesses and households to become more energy efficient.

“We recognise however, that some sectors and groups in society are less able to adapt quickly. For that reason we are proposing that sectors of the economy are brought into the scheme gradually. It is also our intention to compensate low and modest income earners for the increased cost of electricity, and to encourage all New Zealanders to change their energy use patterns.

The Labour-led Government's policies to fight climate change include:

· the establishment of an emissions trading scheme to put a price on greenhouse gas pollution

· measures to encourage forestry and more sustainable land use

· a goal to increase renewable electricity generation to ninety per cent of New Zealand’s total electricity generation by 2025

· improving fuel and energy efficiency in buildings, homes and business

· a goal to reduce per capita emissions from the transport sector by half by 2040, and to be one of the first nations to widely introduce electric vehicles

· making the public sector carbon neutral

“Reducing greenhouse gas pollution also offers us the opportunity to have a healthier environment and a more efficient economy.

"Already some businesses, such as those in the tourism and wine sectors, have reduced greenhouse gas pollution and are marketing themselves credibly as carbon neutral and/or sustainable. There are opportunities across the economy for innovation and investment in low-emission, energy efficient products and services.

“The announcements we are making today will protect New Zealand's clean and green reputation, and support our economy moving further along the path to sustainability,” Helen Clark said.

NOTE:

Copies of the reports - New Zealand’s Climate Change Solutions – an overview, The Framework for a New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme, Forestry in a New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme and Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change: Plan of Action, and emissions trading factsheets - can be accessed from the website www.climatechange.govt.nz.


ENDS

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