The National Government’s failure to make meaningful commitments to reduce New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions has been slammed by the most senior United Nations climate change figure.
Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), described New Zealand’s decision last month not to sign up to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol as ‘very disappointing’.
“The National Government have tried to pull the wool over the eyes of New Zealanders and the international community but is fooling no one,” Green Party climate spokesperson Kennedy Graham said from Doha where he is observing international climate change talks.
The Protocol is a global agreement with binding obligations to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The first commitment period stops at the end of the year. Australia, and 36 other countries, intend to sign up again.
Climate Change Issues Minister Tim Groser has said the National Government would instead work within the UN Framework Convention, the Protocol’s parent treaty, which doesn’t impose specific commitments to reduce emissions.
Ms Figueres tweeted: “Very disappointed that New Zealand will not enter #Kyoto2.”
“Mr Groser told the Associated Press on Sunday that New Zealand ‘was ahead of the curve’ by moving on from Kyoto to focus on the next deal,” Dr Graham said.
“He may be ahead of the curve on Planet Key but in the real world he is taking New Zealand backwards. He is pretending the next 8 years before a new deal kicks in don’t matter. In fact, these are the most critical of all.
“This National Government’s inaction will see Kiwis faced with bigger costs down the track when they have to play catch up while Australia speeds ahead.
“The National Government is obsessed with short-term costs and ignores the risk to our economy posed by global warming.
“In Mr Groser’s world being one of the first countries to be granted fossil awards at the climate conference in Doha is being ahead of the curve. That’s not really a curve we should want to be on.
“Which curve does Mr Groser claim to be ahead of? The gross emissions increase curve from 1990 to 2010 in which we are 2nd worst? The demand to participate in a 2nd Kyoto trading mechanism despite refusing to accept legally-binding reductions? Or being one of the last hold-outs to commit to a formal pledge for a 2020 target?”
12/06/2012 – 13:00