Key sets goals for climate change
National's 2050 deadline gives New Zealand a target to strive for, John Key says. Photo / Hawke's Bay Today The National Party wants a 50 per cent cut in carbon emissions by 2050. Speaking to the party's northern region conference, John Key said National would honour New Zealand's international obligations and would not pull out of the Kyoto Protocol. He told delegates in Whangarei yesterday that National's target would send a clear message to the world: New Zealand means business on climate change. The target of 50 per cent reduction in carbon-equivalent net emissions from what they were in 1990 was comparable to targets being set by other developed nations, the National leader said. The policy made sense for New Zealand's agriculture-intensive economy. Mr Key criticised Labour for failing to prepare New Zealand for the protocol's binding requirements. "National will do much better at reducing New Zealand's emissions than Labour has done. "As a starting point we think New Zealand needs a credible emission-reduction target to strive for. "A 'carbon neutral' goal with no timeline just won't cut it." Mr Key said climate-change awareness would create new markets for New Zealand industries, tourism and technology. Demand for low-carbon products was estimated to be worth at least $500 billion a year by 2050 and countries and consumers would be seeking climate-friendly products and innovations. Policy points The main points of National's carbon emission reduction policy: * Introduce a comprehensive "cap and trade" emission permit system to manage greenhouse gas emissions, designed to encourage cost-effective reductions across the economy. * Make it easier to invest in renewable energy by reforming the Resource Management Act. "Sensible" wind farm and hydro developments will not be caught up in red tape. * Encourage tree planting and end the "chainsaw massacre" caused by "Labour's war with the forestry sector". * Boost research and development, especially in agriculture. Agricultural technology has the potential for big climate change gains. * Honour Kyoto Protocol obligations while working for additional and future global alliances. Recognise that a strong New Zealand voice is vital to the "brand" exporters can rely on. * Pursue transtasman solutions and co-operation. National sees trading advantages in a transtasman carbon market and in co-operation with Australia on research, development and technology. * Give Kiwis incentives to make climate-friendly choices by giving people access to clear information. * National leader John Key says his party's target compares well with the United Kingdom, which is setting a binding target of a 60 per cent cut in emissions by 2050. * He says the EU aims to cut emissions by 20 per cent by 2020. New Zealand's emissions are significantly less per person than those of Australia, the US and Canada. * National believes the "50 by 50" target is New Zealand's fair contribution to avoiding dangerous climate change. This takes into account the already high level of renewable energy and the difficulty of reducing agricultural emissions. - NZPA The Labour party has released its Rainbow Manifesto.