Former PM blasts New Zealand policy failure on climate change

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, February 17, 2015
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The New Zealand government's climate change policy is a failure, former Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer said Tuesday in an attack on the country's environmental credentials.

"The New Zealand government does not have a credible climate change policy in fact, the current situation amounts to policy failure," said Palmer, who was Prime Minister in 1989 an 1990, and is a Distinguished Fellow at Wellington's Victoria University law school.

"New Zealand seems to have lost its mojo in looking after the environment generally, but to neglect climate change, the greatest issue of our age, is unacceptable. It is also contrary to all our traditions as a progressive country."

Determined action and an agreed long-term policy framework could make a difference in the face of climate change, which was clearly occurring, Palmer said in a statement from the university.

"Such change would require much cooperation at all levels by the government, business, agriculture and individuals a concerted effort around the world is the only thing that will make a difference," said Palmer.

"International negotiations on climate change have been painfully slow and the lack of a legally binding commitment on emission targets is likely to lead to the failure of those negotiations," he said.

"This is not an issue that can fall victim to political polarization. Political parties need to work together to improve the law on climate change."

New Zealand had to repair its "defective law" regarding the burning of fossil fuels.

"The need to transition to a low-carbon economy has been obvious for more than 20 years, but New Zealand decision-makers have not grasped the nettle," he said.

"The weakness of the New Zealand emissions trading scheme is notorious. Emissions have increased by 20 percent since 1990 and are projected to continue to rise substantially."

New Zealand needed a long-term consensus-based policy agenda that produced a new legal pathway to deal effectively with those issues under New Zealand's control.

"Economic growth and climate change action are not incompatible. However, policy failures at both international and national levels are a sad indictment on the incapacity of the peoples of the world to act in their own collective self-interest," said Palmer.

"The lack of leadership, and the limp global response so far is lamentable. A quantum leap forward in international governance is required." Endi

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