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Europe On Climate Change Leaves NZ Wanting


April 5, 2000 – Auckland. Greenpeace today congratulated Jeanette Fitzsimons, MP, on gaining government support for her Energy Efficiency & Conservation Bill. However, Greenpeace warned that energy efficiency is just the first small step to preventing dangerous climate change, and called on the Government to follow the lead set by France and take immediate steps to ratify the Kyoto Protocol here in New Zealand.

The French parliament last night (NZ time) was due to put a Bill, which will result in ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, through its first reading.

“Energy efficiency is an important first step towards reducing the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, to prevent dangerous climate change – but there are many other measures we still need to take swiftly” said Sue Connor Greenpeace climate campaigner. “The government must now take the lead and publicly state a timetable for New Zealand’s ratification of the Kyoto Protocol.” (1)

“Helen Clark stated earlier this year that she hoped to see the Kyoto Protocol ratified this year, however there has been no timetable”, said Connor. “Just last week the Minister of Energy stated that New Zealand was in the process of ratification.(2) However, in February this year the Minister for the Environment, Marian Hobbs, lamely stated that New Zealand would ratify the Kyoto Protocol as soon as that is appropriate”.

“These vague promises are not good enough, said Connor. “The government must publicly state a timetable for this process to occur this year”, said Connor.

Last night France took concrete steps to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and Greenpeace called on France’s European partners to do the same. A French Bill to ratify the Kyoto Protocol was due to have its first reading last night New Zealand time, with final adoption expected in May or June this year. France is the first industrialised country to be in a position to ratify the Kyoto Protocol since its adoption in December 1997.

“Greenpeace calls on the New Zealand government to follow the French example and set a time tabled ratification process in motion immediately”, said Connor.

(1) The Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty which commits New Zealand to stabilisation of greenhouse gases at 1990 levels by 2012, as a first step to preventing dangerous climate change.
(2) Minister of Energy made this statement in the context of discussing a report which showed New Zealand’s carbon dioxide levels would rise by 40% over 1990 levels by 2010.

For further information contact Sue Connor (09) 630 6317 or (021) 213 5603.

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