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End climate change cheating: opposition

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 17/04/2016

Opposition parties are calling on the government to stop industries buying "fraudulent" carbon credits from Ukraine and Russia to offset greenhouse gas emissions.

They're reacting to a Morgan Foundation report which says New Zealand is by far the biggest buyer of Ukrainian credits which were banned by the European Union in 2011.

"The climate can't be cheated into not changing," Green Party co-leader James Shaw said on Monday.

"We're not going to stop climate change with governments like ours cashing in dodgy foreign units."

Labour's environment spokesman David Parker says the government has made a mockery of the Emissions Trading Scheme.

"The report finds it was `virtually impossible' for the government not to be at least aware that there was a serious integrity problem with many of these overseas credits," he said.

Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett, who leaves on Monday for New York where she'll sign the latest international climate change agreement, says there's nothing new in the report.

"I'm aware of the previous statements the Morgan Foundation has made about international units," she said.

"The ETS isn't perfect, which is why we're reviewing it. I absolutely stand by its ability to help us transition to a lower carbon economy, and international markets have a role to play in that."

Under the current regime, industries that emit greenhouse gases buy credits from those that don't.

The report says there's serious doubt about the validity of some carbon credits.

"One type of credit was overcome by fraud and corruption in Ukraine and Russia," it says.

"Virtually all the credits issued by these countries are `hot air' - they don't represent true emissions reductions."

The report says New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions have gone up since 1990, the date they were supposed to start coming down.

But New Zealand can "get away with it" by paying money to other countries where emissions are claimed to be reducing.

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