ETS must pass despite weaknesses

Press release - August 21, 2008
Despite shortcomings, it is imperative that New Zealand’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) is passed into law this parliamentary term, says Greenpeace.

"We've heard today that the Green Party has made some gains in negotiations with the government, although not every battle to strengthen the scheme has been won," said Greenpeace Senior Climate Campaigner Simon Boxer.

"Obviously Greenpeace is very disappointed that agriculture is still excluded from the scheme until 2013, and that the government is unwilling to address skyrocketing emissions in this sector, but overall the most important thing is that the scheme passes into law.

"This is very much a case of something being better than nothing," said Boxer. "The climate is in crisis, and New Zealand has virtually no policy in place to start addressing it. The ETS is only the first step towards New Zealand playing its part internationally.

"The National Party's calls for the scheme to be delayed and for the scheme to be intensity based are irresponsible and must be ignored. They are based on nothing more than the bleating of a core group of big polluting businesses. National's proposals for the ETS would render it unworthy of the paper it's written on.

"Both in terms of climate, and in the current geo-political environment, New Zealand cannot afford to end this year having made no progress on climate policy."

Boxer said it appeared that some significant gains had been made during negotiations in terms of energy efficiency and conservation, both of which were a crucial part of tackling climate change.

Greenpeace is campaigning for agriculture to be included in the ETS by 2010, and for New Zealand to set a domestic emissions reduction target of 30 per cent by 2020.

Other contacts: Contact: Simon Boxer – Greenpeace Senior Climate Campaigner – 021 905579 Kathy Cumming – Greenpeace Climate Communications – 021 495 216