The Government's announcement today that it is to weaken New Zealand's climate reduction target by half is a disgrace, the Green Party said.
The National Government had previously issued a greenhouse gas reduction target of 10-20% of 1990 levels by 2020. Today they have announced a weakening of this target to 5%.
"A weakened climate target will come as a surprise to anyone who follows the science of the issue," Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman said today.
"As a small country, New Zealand is reliant on major global emitters to reduce their emissions in order to avoid serious consequences of human caused climate change. We can't expect them to act to save our bacon while we freeload.
"We know if we don't start to reduce our emissions we can expect more frequent extreme weather events like the drought this summer and storms like we have seen this winter.
"At the same time our clean green image is under the international spotlight this Government is weakening our environmental laws, and breaking promises to reduce our emissions. We need to make our clean green image real.
"We are yet to see any meaningful action from this Government, unless you count actions like weakening the ETS which have made matters worse.
"The Government's lack of action to reduce our emissions has led to New Zealand reaching the highest level of net emissions," said Dr Norman.
This month the Environmental Protection Agency released figures that show an increase in credits submitted to deforest pre-1990 forests from 231,000 to 8,169,000 tonnes of CO2e, an increase of over 34 times between this year and last year's reports.
"The Government has weakened the ETS which has resulted in basically no price signal incentivising deforestation, we need a real price on carbon," said Dr Norman.
"We can do more than 5%, we just need to start reducing our emissions not increasing them."