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Govt’s target will actually increase emissions

10 February 2011

Govt’s target will actually increase emissions

The Government is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the New Zealand public about plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, revealed the Green Party today.

“Minister for Climate Change Issues Nick Smith is being a bit too tricky when he claims the Government plans to halve emissions by 2050,” Green Party Co-leader and Climate Change spokesperson Dr Russel Norman said.

“It’s just an accounting trick. The Government’s actual target is for our net greenhouse gas emissions to increase slightly from 1990 to 2050.

New Zealand’s net emissions in 1990 were 29 million tonnes CO2 equivalent (CO2e). Dr Norman said that National’s net emissions target for 2050 was 30 million tonnes CO2e.

“They try to pretend that this is a reduction by comparing the gross figure in 1990 with the net figure in 2050.”

The Minister’s Position Paper, recently released for consultation by the Ministry for the Environment, states that the 2050 emissions reduction target is “on the basis of net emissions in the future, relative to gross emissions in 1990”.

New Zealand’s gross emissions in 1990 were over 60 million tonnes C02e, but net emissions, accounting for forestry and land use sinks, were only 29 million tonnes.

“If you compare like with like, by comparing the net emissions in 1990 with the net emissions in 2050, there is actually a small increase,” said Dr Norman.

“The Government does not plan to cut emissions at all by 2050, yet they mislead the public, who understandably expect a 50 percent cut in emissions to be a significant reduction.

“If the rest of the world takes this disingenuous approach to reducing carbon emissions, we have no chance of averting dangerous climate change.

“Nick Smith needs to come clean to New Zealanders.

“The Government’s agenda is really just business as usual: a carbon-intensive economy, a hotter climate, and damage to our reputation as clean, green and honest,” said Dr Norman.

Link to overseas analysis:

Link to Minister’s Position Paper that states the target is net emissions relative to 1990 gross emissions:
[Scoop copy (PDF): gazettingnz2050emissionstarget.pdf]

Link to New Zealand’s Green House Gas Inventory 1990-2008 (see Table ES.4.1.1 New Zealand’s emissions by sector in 1990 and 2008) or Table below):


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