New Zealand National Party Sets Climate Change Target

Wellington, New Zealand (May 13, 2007)- National Party Leader John Key says his party will set a target of a 50% reduction in carbon equivalent net emissions, as compared to 1990 levels, by 2050. In shorthand: A 50% cut by 2050. 50 by 50. “National’s ’50 by 50′ target will send a clear message to the world: New Zealand means business on climate change. This target is comparable with targets being set by other developed nations and it makes sense for New Zealand’s agriculture-intensive economy. A ‘carbon neutral’ goal with no timeline just won’t cut it.”


“National is committed to growing our economy. We see confronting climate change as a vital part of the policy mix for fuelling that growth.” Mr. Key says climate-change awareness will create new markets for Kiwi industries, tourism, and technology. It’s estimated that demand for low-carbon products will be worth at least $500 billion per year by 2050. Countries and consumers will be crying out for climate-friendly products and innovations.
National’s “50 by 50” target meets three key tests: It is internationally credible, it is suitable to New Zealand’s unique economic profile, and it is time-bound.
Country Comparison:
* Various states in America have devised targets, with the Republican Californian Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, committed to a target of 80% reduction by 2050.
* The United Kingdom is setting a binding target of a 60% cut in emissions by 2050.
* The European Union aims to cut emissions by 20% by 2020.
* Norway has committed to a goal for ‘carbon neutrality’, which they hope to achieve by 2050, but which is not legally binding. Norway is one of the world’s major oil exporters.
Scientific Basis:
Evidence suggests global greenhouse gas emissions need to be within the range of 450-55O parts per million to stabilise climate change. The Stern Report indicates that in order to reach that target, global greenhouse gas emissions would have to drop by 25% by 2050. The report suggests that, in general, rich countries need to take responsibility for reducing emission by 60-80% by 2050, as compared to 1990 emissions levels. However, it notes that each country’s reduction target needs to take account of a number of factors, including wealth, historic emissions, and the nature of emissions.
Measures to achieve this include:
1. ‘Cap and Trade’ Permit System. We will introduce a comprehensive ‘cap and trade’ emission permit system to manage greenhouse gas emissions. This system will encourage cost-effective emission reduction across the economy.
2. Fast-track Renewable Energy Projects. We will make it easier to invest in renewable energy by reforming the Resource Management Act. We think it’s ridiculous that Labour is allowing sensible green wind-farm and hydro developments to be caught up in red tape while Government-owned power stations burn more coal and gas than ever before.
3. Forestry Incentives. We will encourage tree planting. Labour’s war with the forestry sector has led to a chainsaw massacre of trees. We will incentivise more planting and less cutting by giving some carbon credits to the foresters who plant the trees in the first place.
4. Boost Research and Development. We will boost research and development, especially in agriculture. No other country has as much a vested interest in solving the problem of methane emissions as New Zealand does. Agricultural technology, especially in ruminant microbiology, has the most exciting potential for big climate-change gains, both economic and atmospheric. We already corner the world market for science skills in this area, but even so, we have fewer than 25 scientists working in the ruminant microbiology field. National will up the ante.
5. Global Action and Trans-Tasman Co-operation. We will honour our Kyoto obligations while steadfastly working for additional and future global alliances. We believe a strong New Zealand voice on climate change is vital to the “brand” our exporters rely on, and can be a key force for rallying the global troops. We will particularly pursue trans-Tasman solutions and co-operation. National sees trading advantages in a trans-Tasman carbon market and in co-operation with Australia on research, development and technology.
6. Empowering Consumers. We will give Kiwis incentives to make climate-friendly choices. Whether it’s catching a bus or buying an energy-efficient appliance, every individual can make a contribution to reducing New Zealand’s emissions. Government has a role to play in ensuring Kiwis have access to the infrastructure, clear information and meaningful incentives that encourage the most climate-friendly behaviour.
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