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Honour Kyoto, Urge Greens

Calls by Commonwealth Secretary General Don McKinnon for the Commonwealth to adopt a so-called "Kyoto 2" model for climate control are a sell-out, Green Party Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today.

Mr McKinnon claimed that support is growing within the Commonwealth for the United States' position on green house gasses, which involves no binding commitments.

The US has refused to sign-up to the Kyoto protocol because of fears it will hurt its economy, Ms Fitzsimons said. However, as the US economy picks up again, so will green house gas emissions, regardless of any market-based initiatives for reducing them.

"The Commonwealth is over-represented in nations facing the worst effects of climate change," said Ms Fitzsimons. "Island countries in the Pacific and Caribbean are highly vulnerable to increased cyclones and sea-level rise while low lying countries like Bangladesh face catastrophic floods.

"Yet Mr McKinnon and CHOGM host, John Howard have the effrontery to tell those countries that trusting big business to 'do the right thing' and voluntarily reduce CO2 emissions will somehow save them from the rising waters.

"Big business helped create this problem," Ms Fitzsimons said. "Now, its supporters in Washington, Canberra and Wellington are stepping up the campaign to softening commitment to the protocol, despite the fact that the damage inflicted by extreme weather conditions far outweighs the costs of ratification."

Kyoto is already weak enough, said Jeanette Fitzsimons. Successive meetings have negotiated so many loopholes that its main remaining virtue is the framework it offers to strengthen national commitment. Now Mr McKinnon wants to abandon even that.

"Mr McKinnon urged no action over the civil rights abuses in Zimbabwe, now he's advocating members do less than nothing to reduce the truly apocalyptic effects of climate change.

"We urge Helen Clark to treat the Secretary General's advice on Kyoto with the same distaste she showed to his 'wait and see' approach to Zimbabwe."


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