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Climate Change Is A Problem That Can Be Tackled

Climate change will continue throughout the 21st century and its impacts will increase, but there is a wide range of options for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, says the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Pete Hodgson, Convenor of the Ministerial Group on Climate Change, said the report released internationally today showed why the Government supported the Kyoto Protocol, which requires industrialised countries to limit their greenhouse gas emissions.

“The report makes three things very clear," Mr Hodgson said. "First, the climate is changing and will continue to change because of greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity. This finding is robust, despite existing uncertainties. Second, the impacts of climate change will become steadily worse if we do nothing to reduce our emissions. But third, there are many ways to reduce emissions that can bring other benefits to society and minimise costs.”

“The meaning of this report is clear. There is no excuse for inaction on global warming – we just have to get on with it.”

Mr Hodgson said the policy options New Zealand is developing are consistent with the main findings of the IPCC.

"In particular, the report endorses a mix of policy options to achieve emissions targets, including participation in international emissions trading. This ensures that the costs associated with emissions reductions are minimised, and we can make full use of any business opportunities that arise."

The Climate Change 2001: Synthesis Report by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change completes the panel’s five-yearly assessment of the science of climate change, the impacts of climate change and the adaptation and mitigation options. The next assessment is expected before the beginning of the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period in 2008, when binding greenhouse emission targets are due to come into force for industrialised countries.

The Summary for Policymakers of the synthesis report is at http://www.ipcc.ch/

Ends

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