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National squanders another opportunity for real action on climate change

The National Government’s tinkering with the Emissions Trading Scheme will do nothing to actually reduce New Zealand’s climate pollution, the Green Party said today.

Paula Bennett today announced a series of small changes to the ETS but continues to subsidise major polluters and to exclude agriculture from the scheme. The Minister also failed to lift the cap that keeps the carbon price low.

“The Green Party has no faith that the changes announced to the ETS today will have any effect on reducing New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“There is one measure, and one measure only, of whether a government is succeeding or failing on climate change and that’s whether climate pollution is falling or rising. In New Zealand, climate pollution has increased by almost 20 percent since the National Government took power.

“By refusing to deal with agricultural pollution National is kicking yet another long-term problem down the road for future generations and governments to fix. Paula Bennett has failed to make the hard decisions and give farmers certainty about when and how they’ll have to start reducing climate pollution.

“No farmer I’ve talked to wants their child to inherit a world with longer droughts and chronic water shortages. Increasing numbers of farmers want to see real action on climate change. They know that the longer we wait to collectively address agricultural climate pollution the less time farmers will have to adapt and invest in new sustainable practices.

“The proposed changes to the ETS are tinkering and are unlikely to have any real effect. I would have liked to see a progressively rising price cap and the introduction of a minimum price floor, so foresters had the certainty to go out and plant trees," said Mr Shaw.