Stop playing tricks and start cutting emissions

2 November 2016

 

The National Government must stop relying on dodgy accounting loopholes in order to continue avoiding responsibility for real reductions in New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions, the Green Party said today.

Under its Paris Agreement obligations, the National Government plans to change the way it accounts for greenhouse gas emissions in 2020.

But a new report released today by the Morgan Foundation reveals that the timing of this change means the Government will avoid liability for a huge quantity of emissions which will be released into the atmosphere from 2020 as a result of forest carbon sinks being harvested.

“National seems to be – yet again – employing an incredibly cynical tactic to avoid doing its fair share to combat global climate change and reduce emissions," said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“The Government is trying to avoid having to reduce the equivalent of almost a year’s worth of pollution with an accounting trick.

“If National put half as much effort into actually reducing pollution as it does trying to avoid responsibility for it, New Zealand would be carbon-neutral by now.

“This is the second time the National Government has exploited loopholes in climate change rules to avoid its responsibility to reduce carbon emissions. The first time was when it traded fraudulent carbon credits from 2011 to 2015, which it continues to claim are valid, and which it refuses to pay back.

“What's worse, it appears National is trying to lobby the UN to allow each country to set its own forestry accounting rules. If they succeed, there’s a real risk they could make it possible for other countries, including big polluters, to play the same tricks and avoid making emission cuts.

“National has gone from dragging its feet on climate change to dragging the rest of the world in the wrong direction.

“New Zealand has a proud history of showing leadership to solve global environmental problems. We are better than this," said Mr Shaw.

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