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Parker: New approach to addressing deforestation

Hon David Parker
Minister responsible for Climate Change issues

12 December 2007

Speech notes

A new approach to addressing deforestation
Climate Change Minister David Parker speech for New Zealand's Statement to the Joint High Level Segment COP
Bali December 2007

Thank you Mr President

Your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, Bali is our opportunity to show solidarity in our global response to this immense challenge.

We stand at a fork in the road. The world looks upon us to see which path we will take.

One path leads to divisions between the developed and the developing world, modest abatement and perhaps us meeting again in 10 years time, in the face of ever more alarming evidence of the impact of climate change, asking why we didn’t seize the opportunity to work together in Bali in 2007.

The other path leads to collective and cooperative action - recognising our different responsibility and capability – with the world acting together to meet this immense challenge.

It is encouraging to see countries in our region taking a clear stance to do much more. Recently APEC, the East Asian Summit, and Commonwealth Heads of Government have all made strong unified statements on climate change. These high level commitments cover a large proportion of the world’s population and greenhouse gas emissions.

Mr President, we need a shared commitment and a shared understanding of where we are heading. We need a long-term global goal for emission reductions that is meaningful and that all parties sign up to.

Developed countries must continue to take the lead in helping to achieve this goal. And we can see from the information the IPCC has given us, that developing country contribution to the global effort needs to be through aggregate emissions reductions of 25 to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

The IPCC also tells us that to achieve our global goal we will need contributions from all countries. A lot has changed since the Convention established the division between developed and developing countries in 1992. Some developing countries are now wealthier than New Zealand. New Zealand is looking to all countries, that are able, to make greater contributions to show strong and visionary leadership.

We also believe that the rules that will apply post-2012 must be clear by the time the post 2012 agreement is finalized. Parties need the knowledge and certainty that the overall outcomes will be fair and will work to achieve the convention goal.

Clearly, Mr President, the current international framework is inadequate. We only have ambition covering a decreasing proportion of the world’s greenhouse gases. We need fuller participation on a fair and equitable basis.

We are a very small country, making up 0.2% of global emissions. Like every other country in the world, we can’t do it by ourselves. But we believe we can make a significant contribution, including in two specific areas.

First, New Zealand is establishing the world’s most comprehensive Emissions Trading Scheme covering every sector of our economy and all six gases not just CO2. We are including the challenging sectors of agriculture and deforestation.

We hope other countries may find this a useful model and we are happy to share our experiences with it.

Second, we are committed to helping the world find a solution to the very difficult problem of emissions from livestock. This is important for us and to many developing country economies reliant on agriculture.

To progress this, New Zealand has established an international Livestock Emissions and Abatement Research Network – LEARN for short. This is a collaborative approach to share information, technology and ideas. It already enjoys strong support from many countries.

Mr President, New Zealand is taking strong measures. We have restrictions on new thermal electricity generation for the next 10 years.

Ninety percent of our electricity generation will be from renewable sources by 2025.

We intend to be carbon neutral in the total energy sector, including: stationary electricity; heat and process emissions; and road transport by 2040.

We know that meeting these challenges will not be easy. Things that are truly worthwhile seldom are.

We are aware of the concerns of many other countries - including concerns over adaptation, technology and financing to meet the climate challenge.

We are also aware of the desire by many countries to see more decisive and ambitious action on the huge challenge of deforestation and forest degradation.

We share this ambition. The tropical forests are the lungs of our planet. We need to help protect them for the health of the planet.

We believe that here in Bali we can show the people of the world that as political leaders we are prepared to act boldly and responsibly on this issue.

New Zealand believes a radically new approach is needed to address this most serious issue of deforestation. We know both developing and developed countries are concerned to ensure that measures to reduce deforestation don’t let developed countries off the hook in reducing industrial emissions at home.

We share that concern. But we must help the President of Indonesia and the President of the Convention to achieve their heartfelt desire to achieve real progress on deforestation. The present text around this is insufficient. We need to heed the call of our leaders and do better.

We need fresh ideas that enable sustainable efforts to avoid deforestation. We have one such idea.

New Zealand proposes that the text we agree here in Bali should enable consideration of a possible new Protocol to the climate change convention dealing specifically with the issue of deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries.

We believe the text on deforestation must enable new frameworks to deal with deforestation to be considered under the Bali road map and on future commitments.

We believe it would be a travesty if the Bali roadmap does not progress on measures to help develop countries address deforestation by the 2009 deadline updating of the Kyoto Protocol.

Thank you, Mr President.


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