If the Government is serious about tackling climate change, it must give the Interim Climate Change Committee a longer leash to be able to look at the bigger picture, National’s Climate Change Spokesperson Todd Muller says.

“The scope of the committee’s terms of reference is extremely narrow, only allowing the committee to consider how the Government might bring agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme and plan for the transition to 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2035.

“Around 85 per cent of our electricity generation is already generated using renewables and the higher that percentage gets, the harder it becomes to make gains.

“And when it comes to agriculture and the ETS, if levied at the processor level with no technology available to effectively mitigate other than reducing stock numbers, it will just be a broad-based tax on farmers that will put us at a competitive disadvantage globally.

“Are these really the only things the Government wants the committee to focus on?

“It should widen the committee’s scope and allow it to consider things like our international targets and a more environmentally-friendly transport network.

“Transport has been the biggest contributor to the rise in our emissions since 1990. Between 1990 and 2015, our transport emissions rose by around 70 per cent with our fleet increasing in size by 1.5 million vehicles.

“We also happen to have one of the oldest, least efficient fleets in the developed world which only exacerbates the impact of the cars on our roads.

“It’s also remarkable that the Government would close the door on our oil and gas industry with no consultation, no cost-benefit analysis, and no regard for emerging technologies like carbon capture and storage, then days later announce this expert body on climate change.

“Surely that decision is something the committee of experts will have had an opinion on.

“It’s incredibly frustrating that the Minister is picking and choosing what requires expert advice and what should remain a political football.”

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