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NZ pushes for loopholes in Kyoto protocol

27 June 2000

NZ pushes for loopholes in climate change convention

New Zealand is pushing to maximise loopholes in the Kyoto climate change protocol that would allow industrialised countries to avoid cutting fossil fuel emissions by planting trees, says Jeanette Fitzsimons, Green Party Co-Leader.

"When I questioned her in Parliament today the Minister for the Environment gave a commitment that New Zealand would look to cut fossil fuel emissions in order to implement the Kyoto protocol, rather than simply relying on so-called carbon sinks, such as forests," Ms Fitzsimons said. "That's a very positive signal of the government's intention."

However Ms Fitzsimons said this position was not following through into the advocacy of New Zealand officials in international negotiations.

"In international negotiations New Zealand continues to pursue the previous government's policy and line up with industrial countries that want to avoid genuine reductions in fossil fuel emissions, by planting trees."

Ms Fitzsimons said a key debate at the Bonn negotiations earlier this month was whether industrialised countries should be able to pay for low-cost tree planting and forest preservation in developing countries rather than cutting fossil fuel emissions at home.

The non-governmental organisations' report on the Bonn negotiations described the position of New Zealand and Australia as 'working diligently to limit information to the public... and open up wide loopholes for sinks.'

"There is a real danger that if carbon sinks are fully adopted, rich industrial nations like the United States will not have to take any action at all to reduce their own fossil fuel emissions. The global climate and ultimately the people of the world will suffer as a result," said Ms Fitzsimons.

"New Zealand, along with Australia, led the campaign against a European Union proposal to give priority to reducing fossil fuel emissions, as opposed to carbon sinks, at the Bonn negotiations.

"I'll be talking to ministers to ensure that their position is being truly reflected by officials overseas," Ms Fitzsimons said.

ends

Jeanette Fitzsimons MP, 04 470 6661, 025 586 068 Gina Dempster, Press Secretary: 04 470 6723, 021 126 5289

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