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Energy Efficiency alone will not deal with climate

Forest and Bird Protection Society
PO Box 631, Wellington

Media release - Wellington - 17 February 2000

Energy Efficiency alone will not deal with greenhouse emissions

Energy efficiency alone will not meet New Zealand's commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions the Forest and Bird Protection Society said today.

Society spokesperson, Barry Weeber, said that a strong energy efficiency commitment by Energy Minister, Pete Hodgson was welcomed but this alone would not meet New Zealand's international commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"The Government needs to put in place a sizeable carbon charge if it is to give credible market signals that will reduce emissions. The alternative of a tradeable emissions system is more expensive to run and organise and would take many years to put in place."

Mr Weeber said that the passage of Jeanette Fitzsimons' Energy Efficiency Bill and greater commitment to funding will assist but in the end strong price signals are required.

"For the last six years New Zealand has been ignoring its international commitments and the threats of climate change to our Pacific neighbours."

Mr Weeber said Forest and Bird looked forward to the Government introducing a fiscally neutral carbon charge as part of this year's budget.

"We need strong action to save ourselves from the impacts of global warming and most immediately to save many of our Pacific Island neighbours from annihilation."

For further information contact Barry Weeber (04)385-7374 or (025)622-7369

NOTE: NEED FOR EARLY ACTION

There is a strong case for New Zealand taking immediate action to reduce Greenhouse gas emissions and meet its obligations under the Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol. In the last 15 years New Zealand has taken unilateral action on a range of economic and diplomatic issues including the removal of most farm and forestry subsidies. If we are not prepared to take action now it implies that New Zealand is only concerned to take action for the economy but not to protect the environment. Taking effective action would now give New Zealand a number of advantages:

1. It would enable New Zealand to place pressure on other countries to implement and extend the commitments in the Kyoto protocol.

2. It would allow us to start reducing our emissions and put us in a better position to encourage developing countries into a reduction timetable in the next round of reduction commitments.

3. It would drive innovation in products with lower fossil fuel consumption or fossil fuel free products. Experience gained in a range of environmental issues from ozone depleting substances to fisheries and energy efficiency is that strong standards drive innovation. Without these standards charges takes longer to occur.

4. The economy would be better positioned for the 21st century compared to others. This is similar to the removal of subsidies - the New Zealand economy has gone through that change and is now in a better position to respond as other countries remove their subsidies.

5. Give New Zealand an early start to move to further reductions as they are negotiated.

Barry Weeber Senior Researcher Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society PO Box 631 Wellington New Zealand Phone 64-4-385-7374 Fax 64-4-385-7373 www.forest-bird.org.nz


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