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New Zealand should be following US lead

4 August 2015

BANZ Media Statement

New Zealand should be following US lead to reduce carbon dioxide targets

New Zealand should be following the lead of US President Barack Obama to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and increase renewable energy generation, says the Bioenergy Association.

President Obama has unveiled the final version of America’s Clean Power Plan and says the unprecedented carbon dioxide limits are the "the single most important step" America has ever taken to fight climate change. He called the limits a “moral obligation” and warned “climate change will threaten future generations if left unchecked”.

The plan reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, while creating tens of thousands of jobs.

The Bioenergy Association says the New Zealand Government should also see climate change targets as an opportunity for business and the economy, not a cost.

Executive Officer Brian Cox says increased use of bioenergy could achieve significant economic growth, create employment and deliver considerable environmental benefits.

“Implementing the Bioenergy Association-led New Zealand Bioenergy Strategy 2010 could deliver, a major portion of the annual greenhouse gas emission reductions needed to meet the Government’s climate change target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030”.

Mr Cox says these targets are conservative and the Bioenergy Association believes that by seeing climate change initiatives as a national opportunity instead of a cost, higher targets could be set.

He says bioenergy has the potential to add revenue of $6 billion per year to the country’s economy and there are many economically viable niche bioenergy opportunities.

“With Government support and near zero cost, the number of bioenergy opportunities could increase considerably, resulting in significant economic, employment and environmental benefits.

“New Zealand has the advantage of having a good supply of renewable natural resources to achieve these benefits.

“In the short term, we’d like the Government to encourage the heat market to use wood fuel, farmers to process farm waste to produce bioenergy and local authorities to use organic waste for heating and transport fuel instead of dumping it in landfills.” says Mr Cox.

“Such leadership would show other potential users the viability of bioenergy and support expansion of the wood fuel and biogas markets.”

ends

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