The Government must commit quickly to real climate change targets and stop deceiving New Zealanders about its intentions, the Green Party said today.
Green Party climate change spokesperson, Kennedy Graham, today called on the Minister, Tim Groser, to make New Zealand’s position clear, as the first commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol nears its end.
Dr Graham was responding to the Sunday Star Times’ suggestion today that New Zealand may ‘quit Kyoto’.
"The Government’s slack position on climate change is reaching breaking-point", said Dr Graham.
"Here we are, nine weeks before the Kyoto period terminates, and New Zealand has made no announcement about any binding commitment on reducing our greenhouse gas emissions for the future.
"The Government’s sole remaining policy will be its target of 15% for 2020, riddled with unattainable conditions, and a weak target of 50% by 2050.
Dr Graham suggests that New Zealand emulate the European Union, whose gross emissions, without forestry, are down 18 percent below its 1990 level, while its GDP has grown by 48 percent.
"With that achievement, the EU looks to the future, with an unconditional target of 20% by 2020, binding in EU law. That, incidentally, includes reductions in agriculture," said Mr Graham.
"Sweden, for example, has already reduced agricultural emissions by 10%, while New Zealand has increased by 16%.
"From 2013 to 2020, each EU country has accepted binding reduction reductions for each year, in order to reach the 20% EU target - comprising a ‘meaningful path’ to the stated goal.
"In contrast, New Zealand has no legislative path after 31 December 2012 to reach the Government’s 2020 target, and its weak emissions trading scheme is actually encouraging emissions.
"New Zealand is now floundering on the international scene, looking to go at the slow pace of its Asian trading partners, most of which are developing countries that have no binding obligations to reduce emissions under the climate change convention ."
"The Green Party would strengthen New Zealand’s climate change policy resulting in meaningful reductions in our emissions, and lead a purposeful transformation to a high-tech, low-carbon, green economy that would benefit all sectors and every New Zealander."