Obama’s climate plan shows what leadership is

The Green Party is calling on John Key to develop a clear plan to reduce New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions, following US President Barack Obama’s announcement of a plan to drastically cut emissions from the US energy sector.

“It’s great to see President Obama showing real leadership with a plan to act on climate change. The New Zealand Government also needs to develop a plan to ensure we do our fair share in the global effort to prevent climate change,” Green Party Co-leader James Shaw said.

“New Zealand’s emissions reduction target is hollow unless the Government can back it up with an actual plan to reduce emissions.

“John Key can show leadership by taking up our invitation to work together on an emissions reduction plan for New Zealand.

“We can learn from Obama who, by focusing first on the US energy sector, is going straight to the hardest part of the problem and leaving the low hanging fruit for later. That’s the kind of leadership and ambition that will make a real difference.

“In many ways, the energy sector is to the US what the agricultural sector is to New Zealand because in both cases emissions are high, reducing them is complex, and there are strong industrial interests. But if Obama can come up with a plan to reduce energy emissions then New Zealand should be able to come up with a plan to reduce agricultural emissions.

“New Zealand also needs plans for the transport sector, which is responsible for around 20 percent of emissions, and the energy sector, which seems stuck at about 75-80 percent renewable generation with no clear strategies to improve. Reprioritising transport infrastructure investment and promoting solar energy generation would be good first steps.

“The evidence is clear that clean industries are growing jobs and revenue faster than many other sectors,” said Mr Shaw.