ETS should do 'heavy lifting' to tackle climate change - Luxon

Source: 1News

National leader Christopher Luxon has come out swinging against the Government on climate change.

The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change noted unless countries step up their efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the planet will on average be 2.4C to 3.5C warmer by the end of the century - a level experts say is sure to cause severe impacts for much of the world's population.

The report also noted 83% of net growth in greenhouse gases since 2010 has occurred in Asia and the Pacific - and that New Zealand, Australia and Japan, as a group, had some of the highest rates of greenhouse gas emissions per capita in 2019.

This led Climate Change Minister James Shaw to say the Government's climate actions in the last four years were not enough to get New Zealand on the trajectory to net-zero emissions.

READ MORE: Window of opportunity to turn climate change around - Shaw

Luxon told Breakfast: "I'm in that same camp. I think the Government's made a bunch of pronouncements, but actually renewable electricity's down, emissions are up, we're importing more coal because we killed oil and gas without thinking about the consequences of that and as a result we need a really good emissions reduction plan."

"The Government talks in bumper stickers and actually hasn't delivered anything - a lot of talk, no action, no delivery, no hard outcomes … A modern, mainstream political party should synthesise the economic, the social and the environmental," he remarked.

Asked by presenter John Campbell what National's emissions reduction plan would be, Luxon spoke about the existing Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) being the "vehicle" to "march down" the country's emissions.

"So that scheme does the heavy lifting in marching New Zealand toward where it needs to get to by 2050. That's the guts of the scheme. That's really what we've got to rely on to really do the heavy lifting here."

READ MORE: World hurtling to climate danger zone, brakes half-pulled

To tackle agricultural emissions, Luxon said the country should be "doubling up" in research and development. He also thought water storage facilities should be built and more invested in roads for cleaner vehicles to travel on.

Luxon said National was "deeply committed to making sure we’re net carbon zero by 2050".

"I need to be able to bring centre-right political principles to the economic, to the social, to the environmental challenges that we've got," he said.

"What we're saying to you is we think the ETS is a really good system that needs to drive the outcome and then you augment it with some really smart, intelligent projects that actually help you march down the categories of emissions that we have. I think we can do it.

"We should be the party that actually knows how to get things done and we should work our way through having a proper plan for each of those categories of emissions. They are hard, there is no doubt about it … There's no silver bullet."