19, Aug, 2005

National: leading us backwards on energy

Category: Greenpeace NZ

Greenpeace today condemned National's new energy policy as backward and dangerous as it ignores renewable energy and the reality of climate change.

"National has plumbed new depths in its energy policy. In spectacular fashion they have managed to ignore any mention of the climate change, the environment or sustainability. 'Renewable energy' also seems to be sorely missing from National's policy vocabulary, because it certainly doesn't rate a mention in either their climate or energy policies," said climate campaigner, Vanessa Atkinson.

The scientific community and governments around the globe agree; climate change is happening now, it is caused by burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas for energy and we need deep cuts in our greenhouse emissions if we are to avoid climate disaster.

Every month the predictions from scientists get more and more dire. New Zealand faces more extreme weather events like droughts and floods, longer and more intense forest fire risk, sea level rise, new agricultural pests and the occurrence of tropical diseases like malaria.

"It is outrageous that a political party could still fail to make any connection between energy and climate change. The two are fundamentally linked".

National's policy on energy also completely ignores renewable energy. Yet New Zealand has one of the best renewable energy resources on the planet. Wind energy is the fastest growing energy sector in the world, and alone could comprise 35% of our electricity capacity with existing technology.

As well as wind, New Zealand also has an abundance of renewable hydro, biomass and solar resources which National has ignored in favour of unsustainable sources like coal.

"National wants to gamble with our future, by pushing us down a polluting energy path of more coal fired power stations which will lead to more dangerous climate change - the biggest threat the world faces," said Ms Atkinson.

We urgently need a sustainable energy strategy for New Zealand to make a transition to renewable energy sources and energy efficiency conservation requirements, with a phase out of coal and fossil fuel electricity generation, to help avoid dangerous climate change.

"National's energy policy is cold comfort to any one concerned about the environment or climate change," concluded Ms Atkinson.