The Green Party is calling on the National Government to immediately promise not to use any of the emission reduction units it knows to be fraudulent, in order to meet its global commitments to cut climate pollution.
Today the Morgan Foundation released a report claiming the Government allowed “fraudulent” emission reduction units from the Ukraine and Russia to be bought by New Zealand polluters so that the country could meet its 2020 climate target on the cheap.
‘Emission reduction units’ allow New Zealand polluters to pay someone else to cut greenhouse gas emissions so they can carry on polluting.
The report shows that the National Government continued to allow dodgy Ukrainian and Russian units to be traded in New Zealand even after other countries, including the EU, banned them in 2011 after serious questions about their environmental integrity and links to organised crime.
“The climate can’t be cheated into not changing,” Green Party Co-leader James Shaw said.
“We’re not going to stop climate change with governments like ours cashing in dodgy foreign units. We’ll only stop climate change if governments like ours actually reduce climate pollution at home.
“The Climate Minister is heading off to New York today to sign the Paris Climate Agreement. As a sign of good faith, she must agree to cancel these dodgy units and commit to not using them to meet out 2020 climate target.
“It is deeply embarrassing that New Zealand is the biggest user by far of these fraudulent credits in proportion to our emissions.
“If Minister Bennett does not cancel these dodgy units she will be knowingly rorting global efforts to cut climate pollution, and New Zealand risks losing the moral authority to ask other countries like the US and China to cut their pollution.
“The Government should take this opportunity to reassess its approach to climate change and start investing in reducing pollution at home, an investment that will not only strengthen our economy, but also our environment, and integrity,” said Mr Shaw.