Greens Question the NZ Minister for Climate Change Issues on CO2 level rise and the Kyoto Protocol

Dr KENNEDY GRAHAM (Green) to the Minister for Climate Change Issues: Is he concerned by the continued increasing trend in atmospheric CO2 levels, that recently breached 400 parts per million at Mauna Loa?

Hon TIM GROSER (Minister for Climate Change Issues): Yes, and that is why I am concerned about the glacial pace of negotiations internationally towards a global solution to the problem.

Dr Kennedy Graham: Why is New Zealand—with what the OECD has described as its advanced emissions trading scheme whose price signals need strengthening—the only country that made a binding commitment in the first Kyoto Protocol period and has not made a second commitment?

Hon TIM GROSER: There are actually nearly 100 countries that have no unilateral target, no conditional target, and no statement about whether they will even put in place policies. They account for about 22 percent of emissions, which is 100 times the level of New Zealand emissions. I think that is where the problem lies.

Dr Kennedy Graham: Does the Minister agree that the problem actually lies in his inability to recognise and acknowledge that the framework convention makes a distinction between the countries that he just identified as not having been required to have legal obligations and those that have, and that he is trying to get out of the group of those that have?

Hon TIM GROSER: That is precisely the crux of the problem. When Kyoto deals with only 14 percent of emissions, leaving 86 percent of emissions outside, we will never have progress. The entire focus internationally should be on a global agreement.

Dr Kennedy Graham: In determining New Zealand’s commitment—presumably sometime this year—will the Minister reconcile his supplementary answer in question No. 6 today that “we are aligning ourselves with world prices” with today’s indicative carbon spot price of 57c for certified emission reductions and 5c for emission reduction units?

Hon TIM GROSER: Absolutely. The world price is what it is. It reflects the fact that not sufficient countries are doing enough in this space, and that the eurozone is responsible for most of the carbon price, and is in the middle of a deep recession.

06/06/2013 – 17:28


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