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Work to do before meaningful Kyoto ratification


Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today there was a lot of work to do before New Zealand could meaningfully ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

"While the Green Party strongly supports ratification of the Kyoto Protocol as early as possible, it is essential that we know exactly what we're putting our name to," she said.

Ms Fitzsimons said the parties to the protocol had not agreed on ways of measuring the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by forests, which under the agreement could either be traded off against the emissions produced by the country or traded on an international emissions market.

"The whole Kyoto Protocol is based on the concept of net emissions, but at present there is no agreed method of measuring them, or any agreement on how the market in tradeable emissions would work," said Ms Fitzsimons. "We need to work hard on clarifying these issues at this year's conference of the parties so that ratification can be meaningful."

Ms Fitzsimons made her comments on the day that the International Director General of the World Wide Fund for Nature, Dr Claude Martin, issued a climate change challenge to the Environment Minister on the steps of Parliament.

"The challenge by the World Wide Fund for Nature draws attention to our shocking record on climate change gases and neglect of energy efficiency," said Ms Fitzsimons. "It is imperative that we change our pattern of energy use, otherwise we have no chance at all of meeting our Kyoto commitments."

Parties to the Kyoto Protocol agreed to stabilise greenhouse gas emissions at 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012, recognising that greenhouse gases were contributing to climate change and the resulting negative impacts worldwide.

"Dr Martin is correct in saying that if we don't change direction, in the next five years New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions will reach levels 30 to 40 per cent above the levels agreed to in the Kyoto Protocol. The latest energy projections from the Ministry of Commerce show exactly the same thing," she said.

Ms Fitzsimons said the passing of her Energy Efficiency Bill, currently in its last stages before the House, will be a first step towards reducing New Zealand's emission levels.

Jeanette Fitzsimons MP: (07) 868 6511 or 025 586 068 Gina Dempster, Press Secretary: (04) 470 6723 or 021 1265 289

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