Climate Minister Paula Bennett acknowledged this morning on TVNZ’s Q&A that the National Government had knowingly allowed business to buy carbon credits in the Ukraine and Russia that did not result in actual cuts in emissions, the Green Party said today.
This acknowledgement comes in the wake of a report by the Morgan Foundation which showed these false cuts in pollution equated to a quarter of the emissions the Government claimed to have reduced between 2008 and 2012.
“Minister Bennett cannot just say we should all just move on,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.
"If the Minister cancels New Zealand's fraudulent units, a move she says she is considering, she would have the Green Party's full support. The Greens have been calling attention to these dodgy credits for several years and last week called upon the Minister to cancel them.
“Falsely claiming to have reduced climate pollution means that New Zealand's pollution increases have been even worse than we thought – the equivalent of more than eight times the total amount of pollution from all the cars, trucks and motorbikes in New Zealand in a single year.
"This has put New Zealand's international reputation seriously at risk. Countries now have good reason to look sideways at New Zealand when we say we’re doing our bit to cut pollution.
“This is more than a matter of dodgy accounting. This is an enormous amount of pollution the Government has allowed to spill into our atmosphere that will make our climate more dangerous for ourselves and for future generations.
“Minister Bennett must pay the UN back for the fraudulent carbon credits with legitimate carbon credits.
“The Government has enough stockpiled to do this and only needs to reduce emissions by an additional 3.5 million tonnes of carbon to meet our 2020 target. This could be done by simply guaranteeing that the Huntly coal-fired power plant will close in 2018,” said Mr Shaw.