"The New Zealand Government needs to come clean about its commitment to addressing climate change", says Dr Rhys Jones from the NZ Climate and Health Council, responding to a proposal to water down the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) even further.
Dr Jones says: "The independent Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment calls the ETS a ‘farce’, and the UN’s climate review team has already said that New Zealand has no plans for much of our promised emissions cuts."
"The Government must stop pretending to New Zealanders that it has any intention of leading us into a sustainable future. The rhetoric - that we are playing our part in global efforts to avert climate change - is simply dishonest. New Zealanders are amongst the developed world’s top emitters - and that’s sending a terrible message to the rest of the world."
"The truth is that the ETS is just corporate welfare for big polluters and ordinary New Zealanders will pay the price. Costs to taxpayers will total $1.3 billion over the next four years according to the Parliamentary Commissioner. This figure could become $44 billion in the 2020s, based on the Sustainability Council’s calculations at a plausible $100-a-tonne carbon price. At the same time, our changing global climate is pushing up prices for ordinary New Zealanders from weekly food bills to insurance premiums."
"The irony" says Dr Jones, "is that our country has so many natural resources to grow food, plant forests and generate almost all our energy sustainably. There are also real health gains from low emissions lifestyles so New Zealanders can live longer, healthier and happier."
"Yet here we are, watering down an already weakling Emissions Trading Scheme, welcoming fossil fuel industries with open arms at today’s New Zealand Petroleum Summit 2012, and threatening our natural export resource base of farming, forestry and fisheries."
"It’s time for the Government to come clean - to admit to New Zealanders that it has no intention of addressing climate change. In reality, we’re growing lethal emissions like there’s no tomorrow", ends Dr Jones.
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