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Crucial Week For The Climate - NZ Must Step Up

Crucial Week For The Climate - NZ Must Step Up

New Zealand must step up its commitment to tackling climate change ahead of three important climate meetings this week, says Greenpeace.

Helen Clark will meet with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd today and both leaders will discuss their views on climate change at this week's Australia New Zealand Climate Change and Business conference in Auckland.

Also, international climate negotiations kick off in Ghana later this week, as does the Pacific Islands Forum.

"Real vision and commitment to tackle climate change must emerge from these crucial meetings. Clark and Rudd need to do more than share views on climate, they need to act. Developed nations must set emissions reduction target of at least 25 - 40 per cent by 2020," said New Zealand Senior Climate Campaigner Simon Boxer.

"Yet our political leaders continue to tip toe around the climate change issue. Meanwhile our Pacific neighbours are already paying the price of inaction."

Mr Boxer's comments follow the release yesterday of an open letter from 100 representatives of Asia Pacific NGOs, urging Clark and Rudd do more to help the Pacific with climate change, in particular increased immigration and resettlement.

"There seems a real lack of urgency over the biggest global crisis we face," said Mr Boxer. "At no other time in history will humanity's future be so determined by decisions made today. New Zealand needs to lead at these climate change meetings; anything less will earn us the title of climate laggard, not leader.

"We expect a much better performance from New Zealand – be it on the international stage, in the region or standing up to big business lobby at home. The government must be prepared to back up its rhetoric with action, by first addressing domestic emissions, then helping strengthen international commitments.

"In New Zealand we've got our biggest polluting sector – agriculture – excluded from climate legislation for the next five years, agricultural nitrous oxide emissions now outstripping road transport emissions and a deforestation for corporate dairy crisis; none of which is being addressed.
"It's time New Zealand's climate rhetoric was backed up with strong action. The survival of entire nations is at stake. We hope for a better display of commitment in coming weeks."

Greenpeace is calling for New Zealand to set a domestic emissions reduction target of 30 per cent by 2020.


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