11 Aug 2009

Lobby groups unhappy about 2020 targets

9:55 am on 11 August 2009

New Zealand is being criticised by environmental groups over its goals for greenhouse gas reductions.

The Government says New Zealand will cut net greenhouse gas emissions will be cut by 10% by 2020 if other developed countries agree, and by 20% if developing countries also do so. These cuts should compare with levels of 1990.

Oxfam and Greenpeace say the target is well short of the 25% - 40%reductions by 2020, that they see as necessary to keep global warming to 2 degrees. Both say the approach is irresponsible.

Prime Minister John Key says the target is internationally credible and environmentally and economically responsible.

Labour MP Charles Chauvel calls the targets pathetic and says it signals New Zealand is not serious about climate change.

Green Party MP Jeanette Fitzsimons accuses Mr Key of selling out.

However, business groups, say the target is a compromise between helping the environment and preserving the economy.

Enormous challenge - Smith

Climate Change Minister Nick Smith says achieving the targets will be enormously challenging.

Dr Smith, told Morning Report he believes the targets are a balanced response given New Zealand's unique position.

He says 50% of emissions come from agriculture and New Zealand's already has high levels of renewable electricity.

Dr Smith said he plans to have legislation in place for an emissions trading scheme by December.