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WWF dismayed by National Party's climate change policy

9 November 2011

Conservation group expresses dismay at National Party's climate change policy

WWF-New Zealand has expressed dismay at the National Party’s climate change policy which has been released today alongside its environment policy.

The climate change policy significantly weakens the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), delays the entry of farmers into the scheme and provides virtually no additional policies to tackle New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions which are the 5th highest per capita in the developed world and are projected to rise over the next few years.

A recent review of the ETS recommended agriculture enter the scheme in 2015, which WWF strongly opposed because the sector is responsible for 47% of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions. National has chosen to go even further by putting unachievable conditions on agriculture entering the scheme in that year – meaning it can indefinitely be avoided.

The further weakening of climate policy has been justified on the basis of the argued need to 'balance' the economy with the environment.

Commenting on the National Party's climate policy, Peter Hardstaff, Climate Change Programme Manager at WWF-New Zealand said:

“National watered down the ETS when it came into power so it was rendered almost ineffective. WWF is dismayed that the latest announcements yet again punt decisions into the future, making the inevitable job of reducing emissions even harder and even more expensive."

“Just as worrying is the total lack of any complimentary measures to do the job the ETS will now clearly fail to do – which is to contribute our fair share to reduce emissions that are causing life threatening climate change.”

"The National Party's intention to further weaken the ETS and do little else on climate change is based on the bogus concept of 'balancing the economy with the environment'. A healthy environment, both in New Zealand and globally, is essential for a functioning economy and our overall wellbeing. The idea that we must exploit and harm the environment so that we can have enough money to afford the clean-up costs is wrong-headed. And with global climate change, the price will be too high."

About WWF-New Zealand

WWF-New Zealand is part of the WWF International Network, the world's largest and most experienced independent conservation organisation. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the planet's natural environment and to build a future in which people live in harmony with nature. This is achieved by working on the ground with local communities, and in partnership with government and industry, using the best possible science to advocate change and effective conservation policy.

ENDS

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