The National Government should listen to criticism at climate change talks in Doha and sign up to binding commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Green Party climate change spokesperson Kennedy Graham said.
“New Zealand is letting down our Pacific neighbours and other small island states by refusing to continue with binding commitments under the Kyoto Protocol,” Dr Graham, who is at the talks, said.
“At a session yesterday the Alliance of Small Island States said it ‘deeply regretted’ the decision by few developed countries who had decided not to continue.
“Blocking those countries, including New Zealand, from being able to access to carbon markets or Kyoto carbon credits was debated.
“The small island states understand what the National Government is trying to do – not make binding commitments but continue to benefit from the work of other countries.
“New Zealand prides itself on leading the charge on behalf of Pacific small island states. We see ourselves as a Pacific nation. We devote the overwhelming proportion of our aid to our island neighbours. Increasing numbers of our population are Pasifika. And then we pull the plug on them with our climate policy, receiving criticism at the UN. What a bizarre way to conduct diplomacy!”
“It is not too late to reverse position and announce we shall join the Europeans and take on a second commitment, just as Australia is doing. What kind of warped trading mentality prompts us to turn away from our obligations to our children at this critical moment?
“Joining Kyoto-2 in response to the pleas of our island neighbours in our region would be taken as an act of courage and leadership, not weakness,” Dr Graham said.
“The appeal from the small island states came immediately after a remarkable, emotional appeal from the Philippines delegation leader, to Ministers to strike a visionary and ambitious deal at Doha over the next 24 hours.
“The Philippine leader spoke for his compatriots killed by the tragic storm of the past few days. ‘Have we done enough for the youth here at Doha?’
“His voice breaking, the ambassador sent an urgent appeal, not as a leader, not as a negotiator, but as a Filipino, on behalf of 7 billion people. ‘I appeal to ministers: no more delays, no more excuses. Turn things around at Doha. Let 2012 be the year the world found its courage.’
“In the same vein I appeal to John Key to turn our decision around, and let 2012 be the year that New Zealand found the courage to act on climate change,” Dr Graham said.
12/07/2012 – 13:00