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No more excuses to avoid a 2020 target

15 April 2009

No more excuses to avoid a 2020 target

New Zealand's net emissions position - released today - eliminates the last excuse the Government had for avoiding a target and confirms that now is the time to make a firm commitment to an emissions target for 2020, the Green Party said today.

The announcement shows New Zealand now has a modest surplus in its Kyoto account.

"The Government failed to offer a meaningful target in Bonn last week, claiming it needed more information - information we know it has been sitting on since December," Jeanette Fitzsimons, Green Party Climate Change Spokesperson said.

When questioned in the House earlier this month by the Greens about setting such a target, Tim Groser, Minister for Climate Change (International Negotiations), said: "Until we get reliable figures on [our net emissions data], we are not in a position to go further."

"Surely the Minister in charge of our negotiations has been kept abreast of Nick Smith's work to date, and not kept in the dark?" Ms Fitzsimons asked.

"We cannot continue to rely on the global economic downturn, bad weather and accounting tricks to make our reductions for us.

"New Zealand's climate change policy is in a shambles, increasing uncertainty for businesses and families in an already uncertain economic climate.

"This news is not a 'get out of jail free card'. Of the three main improvements to our net position, only one - the changed figures for nitrous oxide - might be permanent. That contributes only 4 MT out of the 31 MT that has just been "discovered".

"Animal numbers will recover after the drought, and the forest figures are the result of various one-off changes in measurement which can't be repeated, and will rapidly disappear over the life of those trees.

"The Government's announcement is welcome news, but is no excuse for continued inaction. Meaningful climate action is now more affordable than ever.

"The Minister spent years in opposition haranguing the government for not doing enough about climate change. Now is the time to act," Ms Fitzsimons said.


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