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Fossil of the Day embarrassment to green image
1 December 1999
New Zealand has built a lot of business on its clean, green image, so the country's renewable energy proponents were embarrassed to hear their homeland excoriated with the award "Fossil of the Day," courtesy of an environmental coalition monitoring last month's climate change convention in Bonn, Germany. Wind proponents have long cited renewables as a means of achieving the country's ambitious greenhouse gas reduction target, but much in the way of wind development has been stalled by resource consent legislation and a gloomy economic outlook. As a result, New Zealand is in danger of failing to meet its climate change commitments. "Government must do more to ensure the environmental and economic level playing field is in place to support the development of new renewable energy generation options. Wind power remains the most technically and economically viable renewable energy option-but while subsidies to fossil fuel exploration and power generation projects remain in place, this viable option will be lost," says Paul van Lieshout, of the New Zealand Wind Energy Association. The Fossil of the Day award was made by the Climate Action Network, an international coalition. It noted that New Zealand had increased greenhouse gas emissions by 30% since 1990, having promising to halve them. New Zealand's net greenhouse gas emissions per capita apparently now exceed those of Europe and Japan, and are only just below those of Australia (the worst in the world), the US and Canada. This is despite the significant credit the country gains for its forestry carbon sinks.
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