Official briefings show that the Government will fall short of its target for reducing climate pollution by 85%, despite Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett saying the Government is on track to meet it, the Green Party said today.
In October 2016 Paula Bennett wrote an opinion piece titled ‘We're on the Right Track on Tackling Climate Change’, in which she claimed the Government had a plan to meet its targets, including an “ambitious” electric vehicles programme.
However, a briefing to the Minister in May 2016 shows that Ministry for the Environment officials believe:
the Government is "not on track to reduce emissions" and that “thiswill leave us increasingly exposed". [See page 2 of attached briefing]
that existing policies will only reduce 12% of the emissions the Government committed to eliminate by 2030. [See page 1 of attached appendix]
the electric vehicle programme will eliminate just 0.2% of emissions needed to meet the Government’s 2030 climate target. [See page 1 of attached appendix]
“If what Paula Bennett is saying in public is precisely the opposite of what she’s hearing from officials, you have to ask where she’s getting her ‘alternative facts’ from," said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.
“The Government is misleading the public about its record on climate change – many New Zealanders believe our emissions have been falling, even though the reality is that New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions have increased 19% since this Government came to office.
“I suspect the Minister hopes that by talking a big game on climate change she’ll face less public scrutiny about rising levels of climate pollution and eight years of inaction.
“You can’t say that National’s electric vehicle’s plan is ‘ambitious,’ when it only cuts 0.2 percent of the pollution needed to meet our climate target.
“The Minister also claimed the Government was ‘well on the way’ to reaching its target of 90 percent renewable electricity, despite experts saying that’s highly unlikely.
“The truth is that after eight years in power National still doesn’t have a plan for how it will eliminate more than 85 percent of New Zealand's climate pollution.
“Taking action on climate change is actually an opportunity for the Government to invest in cleaner, faster public transport, local renewable energy, and a more diverse and sustainable agricultural industry," said Mr Shaw.