Climate change target slammed by critics

  • 08/07/2015
Tim Groser (AAP)
Tim Groser (AAP)

New Zealand's new climate change target has come under fire from opposition parties and environmental groups.

Climate Change Issues Minister Tim Groser yesterday announced a new target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

That's the target the Government will submit to the United Nations when it meets to discuss a new international agreement on climate change in Paris later this year.

But some say New Zealand isn't pulling its weight.

The current target is five percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and the new target translates to 11 percent below those 1990 emission levels.

The Green Party's international climate negotiations spokesman Kennedy Graham labelled the Government's effort "paltry".

"By committing to such a small reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, it means other countries will have to pick up our slack, or we'll get runaway climate change," he said.

Labour's environment spokeswoman Megan Woods says the Government has missed an opportunity.

"We can set all the targets we like, but the simple fact is that this is meaningless unless we actually meet them," she said.

"Labour believes we must have ambitious targets on lowering carbon dioxide emissions from energy use, including transport, backed up by an independent climate commission who is tasked with carbon budgeting."

Meanwhile, Greenpeace has called the target a "con job".

"On paper it may look OK, but it's a distraction from the fact that its not an improvement on any of our previous targets at all - it's a con-job," climate campaigner Simon Boxer said.

Youth organisation Generation Zero says it's disappointed with the "shameful" target.

Climate scientist Jim Salinger says New Zealand needs to be more ambitious, as it's uniquely placed to lead development on low-carbon solutions that support, enhance and potentially advantage the economy.

The new target will remain provisional until New Zealand ratifies the new international agreement.

Mr Groser says the Government will adopt a mix of policies to ensure the target is met, and there will be a review of the emissions trading scheme.