Huge blow to Government on Environment

The Government has trumpeted as part of its environmental and energy strategy. Helen Clark announced it last year.

I believe has the potential to lead the world in its commitment to renewable energy.

On biofuels, the time has come to implement a sales obligation.

can replace diesel or petrol, and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. With domestic production they can also be positive for the current account.

The government has decided that a Biofuel Sales Obligation will be set at 3.4 per cent of the annual energy content of total annual petrol and diesel sales by 2012. This initial is considered sufficient to encourage the uptake of biodiesel and the development of infrastructure for ethanol distribution.

NZPA have just reported the following submission from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the on Helen’s legislation:

The Government’s legislation has been dealt a major blow, with the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment calling for it to be scrapped. …

But Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment today told the committee the bill had major problems and would possibly do more harm than good.

While had a big advantage over fossil fuels in that they absorbed carbon dioxide while they were growing — potentially lowering their emissions — some had a carbon footprint equal to or higher than fossil fuels due to high emissions from infrastructure and cultivation. …

To meet the mandatory requirements would have to import biofuels, which in some cases were worse than fossil fuels.

Ms Wright said the growth of biofuel crops overseas could also result in the felling of forests to free up land and shortages in land for food production that would push up prices disadvantaging the world’s poor.

Ouch. Eight years of huge growth in greenhouse gas emissions, and the Government’s sole response has been we have developed some really good policy.  That policy isn’t looking so flash now.

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