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11, May, 2006

IEAs Support for urgent Emissions prices welcomed


Category: ECO Inc

The Environment and Conservation Organisations of NZ says the IEA’s call for urgent action on climate change and for measures to send a price of carbon through the economy is welcome. “It is a chance for the government to re-think, to correct the policy instability that we have suffered since late 2005 and to introduce an economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions price,” says Cath Wallace, co-chair of ECO.

“The IEA is especially clear that we should introduce charges on transport fossil fuels – but we would need to apply charges to coal and to other emissions too.

“The IEA is clearly very worried at the lack of progress in New Zealand on energy efficiency: the good news is that it suggests some immediate measures that we could introduce: emission standards and fuel economy labels for vehicles; appliance efficiency labels, better building standards and ratings, more spending on public transport, walking and biking, car pools, congestion reducing measures and so on.”

“The report targets the opportunities for better insulation in houses – but forgets to mention the benefits in savings on health costs from having warmer, drier homes. The IEA stresses that it is not enough to introduce standards – they have to be enforced.

“The report suggests an emissions trading scheme but glosses over some of the difficulties that would entail, particularly as to the allocation of the emissions trading rights: this will be a cause of delay – it is one big dispute that you don’t have to have if you have a emissions charge instead.

The report focuses on energy: it is only one half of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas problem: the other half is agriculture, particularly dairying. Conversion of forests into dairy farms is a key problem: it is essential that New Zealand tackle this since agricultural emissions account for half of our greenhouse gas emissions.

“One of the immediate things that New Zealand can do to improve our climate performance is to pass the Resource Management Climate Change Bill which is now before the House. That at least would allow for greenhouse gas emissions to be considered under the Resource Management Act.

“Next New Zealand must get busy on a price for greenhouse emissions, and must introduce other measures as well. Climate change is a pressing issue and we have fallen well behind. This report shows that the rest of the world has noticed and is not pleased, says Wallace.
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For further information, contact Cath Wallace on 021-891-994 or Barry Weeber 021-738-807