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US Given Clear Message On Climate Change

New Zealand and other countries represented at a recent international meeting on climate change gave the United States a strong and repeated message of concern about its step away from the Kyoto Protocol, says Pete Hodgson.

Mr Hodgson, convenor of the Ministerial Group on Climate Change, represented New Zealand at the talks in New York City from 19-21 April.

The informal meeting of about 35 nations was called by Jan Pronk, the Netherlands Environment Minister and president of the World Conference on Climate Change (COP6) that broke up without resolution last November.

Mr Pronk asked selected ministers to New York to work through outstanding issues in preparation for the resumption of the COP6 meeting in Bonn, Germany, in July.

"The meeting confirmed the fact that the rest of the developed world is deeply unimpressed by the United States' unilateral refusal to support the Kyoto Protocol," Mr Hodgson said. "The nations represented in New York conveyed their disappointment strongly and repeatedly to the US representatives.

"There was widespread agreement also that that there are significant economic advantages to be secured from acting on climate change by improving energy efficiency and making technological improvements in energy production and use. These advantages will to be the most significant for those that move early."

Mr Hodgson said it was clear from the meeting that the US Cabinet-level review of climate change policy, which will determine the US approach to international negotiations, would not be completed until shortly before the COP6 meeting in Bonn. The prospects for international agreement on the Kyoto Protocol remained uncertain in the meantime.

"In any case, New Zealand will continue to place high priority on energy efficiency and other environmentally beneficial measures that will give us an economically positive return. In addition we will continue our involvement in international negotiations to ensure that New Zealand's interests, especially in the forestry sector, are secured."


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