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National still blind to warnings on climate change

Brendon Burns
Spokesperson for Climate Change

7 September 2011

National still blind to warnings on climate change

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s stark warning about climate change could have been written as a message to the Government, says Labour’s climate change spokesperson Brendon Burns.

“Ban Ki-Moon told the Pacific Island Forum opening that climate change is literally ‘lapping at the feet’ of Pacific Islanders and the world that had yet to take climate change as seriously as it deserves.

“That’s a message the National Government has chosen to ignore with its ETS policies that provide billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded subsidies to polluters,” Brendon Burns said.

“It’s response to warnings like that from Ban Ki-Moon is to fund a few projects - a solar plant in Tonga and tsunami warning systems in some Pacific Island states.

“What these nations need is a champion for their cause on the international stage. They look to New Zealand to provide leadership on climate change so as to protect them from ever-rising sea levels. Instead we have a Government which panders to vested interests at the taxpayers’ expense, encourages the worst contributors to greenhouse gases and refuses to address our biggest source of emissions.”

“Climate Change Minister Nick Smith continues to describe the climate change issue as the challenge of our time, while at the same time he derides Labour for its policy to again include agriculture in the ETS when it is responsible for half our emissions.

“His Cabinet colleagues only abandoned attempts to mine in National parks after people took to the streets, yet we still have John Key refusing to pull the plug on plans by Solid Energy to mine lignite when the dirty brown coal is the worst contributor to carbon emissions.

“As Ban Ki-Moon says, if anyone is still in any doubt about climate change they should visit Kiribati. It’s a suggestion National might want to consider,” Brendon Burns said.

ENDS

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