21 Jan 2015

Cheap oil, more climate action - Sust Council

4:14 pm on 21 January 2015

An environmental group says the Government can afford to do more on climate change as oil prices remain low.

Brent crude oil is trading at just over $US47 a barrel, leaving petrol prices at about $NZ1.73 a litre.

Sustainability Council executive director Simon Terry said falling oil prices meant consumers and polluters could now afford to do more to combat climate change.

"Lower oil prices provide an opportunity for the Government to begin putting a realistic price on greenhouse gas emissions. In the past it has weakened the ETS [Emissions Trading Scheme] on the basis that consumers could not afford more," he said.

"Well, now they can and the Government should be signalling that the ETS review will deliver significantly higher carbon charges."

Low prices meant the Government could launch a reform of the ETS, he said.

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