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Time to commit to two degrees

6 December 2007

Time to commit to two degrees

The Green Party is urging the Government to stop obfuscating and join the rapidly growing group of countries that have committed to keeping global warming under two degrees.

"Yesterday, while Climate Change Minister David Parker was avoiding my parliamentary question on whether New Zealand would commit to a target to keep global warming under two degrees, Iceland's Environment Minister was joining the 27 countries of the European Union and Norway and committing to that very same target," Climate Change Spokesperson Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

Today the Greens have put forward the following points as the most important objectives the New Zealand Government must work for next week in order to prevent dangerous climate change:

* An agreement that the goal of the next climate treaty will be to keep the average global temperature increase to no more than two degrees centigrade. This is the level above which the IPCC says there is serious risk of unstoppable climate change.

* An agreement on a global cap on emissions which will limit temperature rise to this level, with all countries contributing and wealthy countries contributing more than poorer countries.

* Targets for countries to be related to population size and based on per capita emissions, rather than targets based on current emissions which entrench inequalities between rich and poor nations. This approach has the best chance of encouraging China and India to accept targets.

* International sectoral agreements where industries such as cement and steel take responsibility for their emissions globally.

* Improvement in the measurement, verification and certification of "Clean Development Mechanism" credits in developing countries to prevent fraud and double counting - as happens at present.

* Support for a mechanism whereby developed countries can pay for the protection of tropical forests which are being clear felled, such as the proposal put forward at Bali yesterday.

Information on why these points are so crucial is available on the Green Party website.


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