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Smith takes credit for the weather

Brendon BURNS
Spokesperson for Climate Change
1 August 2011

Smith takes credit for the weather

Any reduction in New Zealand’s emissions is welcome, but Climate Change Minister Nick Smith shouldn’t crow too loudly about the part the National Government has played in any ETS success, says Labour’s climate change spokesman Brendon Burns.

Mr Smith unveiled a Ministry for the Environment review of the first year of National’s ETS at a climate change and business conference in Wellington today.

“The Minister claimed the ETS was working well to reduce emissions, with renewable electricity hitting a 12 year high of 79%. The thing is, Contact Energy CEO Dennis Barnes later pointed out the reason for the higher level of electricity from renewable sources was not the Government’s ETS but three years of wet weather,” Brendon Burns said.

“Mr Smith also claimed credit for driving renewable energy investment when everyone knows these projects take years to devise, get consented and build. Interestingly he also announced he had asked a panel advising the Government on the scheme’s shape for the next three years to review its recommendations around when agriculture should start playing its part.

“As he well knows until agriculture is included in the ETS, New Zealand is avoiding the elephant in its back yard. It remains to be seen whether the panel’s response will be made public before the election, as Mr Smith indicated.

“Australia, however, deserves credit. Its government recently earned praise from Conservative Party Prime Minister David Cameron for its bold and ambitious carbon pricing policies, designed to match Britain’s reductions in emissions by 80% by 2050.

“New Zealand is unlikely to receive similar congratulations while National continues to govern, because its commitment is to reach just 50% by 2050.

“We are making some progress but as Mr Smith says, climate change is the most important issue of our generation. This country should be leading that charge, not following meekly behind,” Brendon Burns said.


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