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Climate Inquiry Will Look At Science Theory Says Hide

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

(Updates with latest version of terms of reference)

Wellington, Dec 9 NZPA - A parliamentary inquiry into climate change policy will get the chance to question the science that says human behaviour is responsible for global warming, ACT leader Rodney Hide said today,

The National Government has put the emissions trading scheme (ETS) on hold while it conducts a complete review.

Draft terms, released when National signed up ACT as a support partner in post-election negotiations, included an examination of the scientific claims underpinning climate change theory.

Prime Minister John Key said at the time the terms had been drafted by ACT, which has questioned whether human-induced climate change is real.

The party wants to scrap the previous government's ETS, whereas Mr Key wants to water it down.

An initial set of terms of reference released earlier today did not include a direct reference to an examination of the science behind climate change.

Other than that the terms of reference were broadly similar to the draft.

However, Climate Change Minister Nick Smith later issued a press release saying due to an administrative error one bullet point had been left off.

This said: "Identify the central/benchmark projections which are being used as the motivation for international agreements to combat climate change; and consider the uncertainties and risks surrounding those projections."

Mr Hide, who will also sit on the committee, said as far as he was concerned this would mean the committee would get to look at the issue of the science theory behind climate change.

He was pleased that sceptics would get a chance to have their views heard.

"The previous government took it that human induced climate change was a sort of fact. It isn't a fact, it is a theory the evidence does not appear to support."

Dr Smith said the new Government would take a different approach to climate change looking to do its fair share and not talk about leading the world while emissions increased.

Mr Key has said the Government position is that man-made climate change is real, emissions should be reduced and the Kyoto Protocol obligations honoured.

The 11-member special select committee is predictably dominated by National and its support parties, which have six votes.

Mr Key announced yesterday that United Future leader Peter Dunne, who is a minister outside Cabinet, will chair it. ACT leader Rodney Hide will also sit alongside the four National members.

The committee is rounded out by three Labour MPs and one each from the Greens and Maori Party.

Terms include:

* looking at the merits of mitigation versus adaptation to a warmer climate;

* looking at the merits of an ETS, as opposed to a carbon tax;

* hearing views how New Zealand's climate change stance could affect its international relations;

* requiring a comprehensive regulatory cost-benefit analysis;

* considering the impact of policy on households in light of the weak economy, New Zealand's international competitiveness and the actions of competing countries;

* considering the case for increased climate change research;

* considering the need for additional regulations if an ETS is retained;

* considering the timing of implementation.

It is unusual for a government minister to sit on a committee and Green Party co-leader Russel Norman yesterday said he hoped Mr Dunne took his position of independence seriously.

Mr Key said Mr Dunne was qualified for the role.

"He's a seasoned member of Parliament, he's neutral if you like so there's no particular disagreement.

"I think he'll do a good job of it."

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