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Sign On ambassadors to attend target consultation

Sign On ambassadors to attend Auckland target consultation

Auckland Tuesday 7 July - Several ambassadors from Greenpeace's Sign On climate campaign (www.signon.org.nz), including actress Lucy Lawless and IPCC Nobel Peace Prize-winning climate scientist Dr Jim Salinger, will attend the Government's public consultation on emission reduction targets in Auckland tonight.

They will be pushing for a 40 per cent by 2020 emissions reduction target.

"John Key must carry our message to Copenhagen this December - that New Zealanders care desperately about the health of this planet," said Lawless. "The catastrophe of global warming will make the recession look like a minor historical footnote. Something has to change."

Oscar-nominated New Zealand actress and Sign On ambassador Keisha Castle-Hughes, who has just returned from a trip to the Cook Islands documenting the impacts of climate change in the region, will also attend the consultation.

Greenpeace Executive Director Bunny McDiarmid said the success of Sign On, which calls for a 40 by 2020 target and now has nearly 62,000 signatories, should give the Government an early indication of the strength of feeling among New Zealanders over the issue.

"An emissions reduction target of anything less than 40 per cent by 2020 would signal to the world that New Zealand is not prepared to do its bit. New Zealand's international standing and our clean and green image, upon which many jobs depend, would be irreparably damaged."

Greenpeace has rejected an assessment by front group for big polluters, the Greenhouse Policy Coalition, which says the 40 by 2020 target will come at a high cost to individual New Zealanders.

"Their modeling assumes that we just keep on doing what we are doing and make no efforts to reduce emissions," said McDiarmid. "I'm reminded of previous work from Infometrics on behalf of polluters that argued polluters should pay none of the costs of their emissions and taxpayers would bear the whole cost, like a weird form of reversed communism."

Founder of 42 Below Vodka and Sign On ambassador Geoff Ross has previously said climate change presents an amazing business opportunity for New Zealand. "This is our biggest opportunity as a country to create wealth since we got refrigeration on ships and we could export butter and lamb. So rather than debating the measures, the science and entertaining the nay sayers, lets get on with it. And do what business should always do - pick a social change and win from it; in fact lead it."

The latest official world climate science congress (1) makes it clear - to avert catastrophic climate change will require developed countries like New Zealand to adopt a 40 per cent reduction target by 2020 on 1990's emission levels. New Zealand is one of the last remaining developed countries without a target.

Dr Salinger: "Our climate is changing rapidly. For example, a 1 degree C increase in New Zealand's temperature over the last century has melted half the ice in the Southern Alps, and for the first time in over 100,000 years both the northwest and northeast passages in the Arctic have been open. Rapid, sustained and effective emission reduction targets are required now to avoid dangerous climate change."

The Sign On campaign was launched one month ago. A wide range of high-profile New Zealanders are backing the campaign, including Lucy Lawless, Rhys Darby, Cliff Curtis, Robyn Malcolm, chef Peter Gordon, Warehouse founder Stephen Tindall and Geoff Ross. See signon.org.nz for more information.

Tonight's consultation runs from 7:30 - 9pm at the Princes Ballroom B and C, Hotel Hyatt Regency, Corner of Princes Street and Waterloo Quandrant.

--

Notes to Editor

(1) The Synthesis Report summarises new knowledge that was presented at the congress "Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges & Decisions" at the University of Copenhagen in March this year. Approximately 2500 people from nearly 80 countries attended the congress with over 1400 scientific presentations.
A copy of the report can be downloaded at http://climatecongress.ku.dk/pdf/synthesisreport


ENDS

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