Government jumping the gun on climate change plan

The Government has jumped the gun by announcing a ban on new coal-fired boilers ahead of the independent Climate Change Commission announcing its emissions reduction plan.

National’s Climate Change spokesperson Stuart Smith says today’s announcement is way out in front of the process that was established to have a bi-partisan plan combating climate change.

“While the Commission has released a draft report, we see it as just that; a draft.

“The Commission received more than 10,000 submissions on its draft advice and we would have expected the Government to respect the process they established by allowing the Commission time to read and consider some of those views.

“While for many businesses it won’t make sense to build new coal-fired boilers, today’s ban does risk unintended consequences. We may see companies forced to use biomass where there is no local source of biomass.

“New Zealand has a well-functioning emissions trading scheme that is already seeing alternative fuels used where it makes sense.

“The Government should wait for the Climate Change Commission to finalise its analysis, and in the meantime let people continue to respond to the very effective signal sent by the existing emissions trading scheme.”

National’s Energy and Resources spokesperson Barbara Kuriger points out that coal and gas boilers are used by crop, meat and dairy producers – and there are fears a ban could lead to food shortages if it goes ahead without alternative energy sources in place.

“Bans can sometimes lead to unintended consequences. Would it not be better to sit down with producers and the energy industry to establish a timeline that works for everyone rather than this piecemeal dismantling of the sector?”

Mrs Kuriger says recent moves in the energy sector regarding gas, and now coal, is leading the industry to a tipping point that will trigger bigger energy security issues.