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PM signs Kyoto Protocol ratification document

PM signs Kyoto Protocol ratification document

Prime Minister Helen Clark today signed the document that effects New Zealand's ratification of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The document, known as an instrument of ratification, will be lodged with the United Nations (UN) in New York by New Zealand's Permanent Representative to the UN.

"Climate change is a global problem and a concerted international effort is required to combat it,” Helen Clark said. "The Kyoto Protocol is the international community's response to climate change and New Zealand is playing its part. "New Zealand has made a significant contribution to the Protocol over many years of international negotiations. We have engaged constructively on an issue that is of particular importance for this country's economic security and the future of our South Pacific neighbours. We are now following up past commitments by ratifying the Protocol and implementing the domestic policy necessary to achieve real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

"The government has decided and announced the policies necessary to meet New Zealand's emissions target under the Protocol. We have consulted extensively on those policies. We have tailored them to ensure the continuing international competitiveness of our industries. Agriculture, the engine of our economy, has been exempted from charges on its emissions and we will tackle those emissions through research. We look ahead to the post-Kyoto era with confidence.

"In ratifying the Protocol New Zealand joins almost all developed nations in accepting responsibility for tackling a critical global problem. In total, 97 countries have now ratified. We are taking full advantage of the time available to adjust before the beginning of the Protocol's first commitment period in 2008. We are embarking on a measured transition to a sustainable energy economy.

"The countries that catch the next wave in energy technology will be those within the Kyoto Protocol, which creates a more favourable market for renewable and low-emission energy. The Protocol will also spur innovation and efficiency in the way we use energy and natural resources. New Zealand will to be part of the energy shift driven by the Protocol, not a nation left behind for fear of change."

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