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Council marks the coming into force of Kyoto

15 February 2005

Business Council marks the coming into force of Kyoto Protocol

The New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development (The Business Council) joined with the Environmental Defence Society, Minister Hodgson and the Ministry for the Environment this evening to mark the day the Kyoto Protocol comes into force.

Rob Fenwick, Chair of the Business Council said that this is an important milestone. The Business Council agrees with the opinion of those from the scientific community that believe that the earth is warming and that joint action between government, business and science is needed to develop solutions that reduce the actual and potential effects of climate change.

“Our members represent a diverse group that includes major fuel consumers, energy and oil companies, large agricultural businesses and waste companies. They are already involved in carbon trading initiatives and are exploring opportunities to reduce further the greenhouse gas emissions caused by their operations and services.

The Business Council supports economic incentives to stimulate change. As a practical solution, we are studying whether policy changes such as an amendment to the Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT) might motivate greater use of lower emission vehicles in company fleets.

We are also conducting a feasibility study of a cap and trade mechanism for greenhouse gas management in New Zealand and believe that a competitive marketplace stimulates innovation, rewards efficiency, and speeds the pace of development.

Our society faces a carbon constrained future, yet demands globally and locally are still largely met by carbon based fuels. We are working with the energy sector to develop a vision for a sustainable energy future with practical scenarios for how New Zealand might look in 2050 depending on the choices we make or don’t make now.”

In November 2004 the Business Council co-sponsored the first joint Australia New Zealand climate change conference at which Eileen Claussen, Chair of the Pew Center on Global climate change talked about the challenge Beyond Kyoto.

Claussen said that attention must now turn to strengthening the international framework for the years beyond Kyoto’s initial commitment period (2008-2012). The overriding challenge for governments will be to forge an agreement that includes all the major emitting countries – both developed and developing. Among the core issues are the nature of future climate commitments, equity, cost, the interaction between climate efforts and international trade, and how best to integrate climate concerns with the development needs of developing countries.

However business must be engaged in developing the solution. In April the Business Council will participate in a joint working group of Australian and New Zealand leaders from government departments and the business community to work through some of these issues. This will be facilitated by the Pew Center.

ENDS

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