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New Zealand Constructive In Climate Talks

New Zealand Constructive In Climate Talks - Greenpeace

Auckland, 29 June 2001: Greenpeace, attending the climate talks in the Hague over the past two days, said that generally New Zealand had taken a constructive role.

“However New Zealand’s negotiating allies Canada and Australia have taken seriously regressive positions, for example they are trying to resurrect the inclusion of nuclear energy in the Kyoto talks”, said Bill Hare, Greenpeace Climate Policy Director.

In March this year Bush announced that the USA was withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol, turning its back on 10 years of work by the nations of the world to prevent global warming. It was reported from the meeting at the Hague that the USA has been on the verge of obstructing progress, contrary to President Bush’s promise to EU leaders in Gothenberg two weeks ago.

“Japan is also trying to seek more concessions at the talks in the Hague so threatening the future of the Kyoto Protocol. Unless Japan comes to its senses, it could sink the Kyoto Protocol negotiations in Bonn in two weeks time”, said Hare.

At the conclusion of these ‘informal’ climate talks in the Hague on the future of Kyoto Protocol, it is clear that Australia, Canada and Japan have taken up very regressive positions, particularly on the question of sinks(1). Australia and Canada want virtually unlimited use of sink activities, and it was precisely these demands which were one of the main causes for the collapse of the COP6 negotiations at the Hague last year. While the EU appears to have made substantial concessions, the reaction of these countries has been to demand more.

Hare said, “In the case of Canada and Australia this indicates a lack of political will to implement and ratify the Kyoto Protocol without the USA. The Japanese government clearly has not yet made a decision as to whether it will ratify without the USA.”

“It is clear that the US is increasingly isolated. Others in its “Umbrella Group”, such as Norway, New Zealand and Iceland have been generally constructive. It is essential that New Zealand takes a strong position immediately and recommits to ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, with or without the USA. It must use its position in the JUSCANZ (2) group to encourage Japan to agree to ratify the Kyoto Protocol without the USA”, said Sue Connor, Greenpeace New Zealand climate campaigner.

Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi meets Mr Bush on the 30th of June, and at that meeting he should tell the US that Japan will move forward and ratify Kyoto without the USA. It would be unacceptable for Japan to come to the negotiations in Bonn in two weeks time without having made up its mind on this vital issue.

For further information: Sue Connor in New Zealand on (09) 630 6317 or 025 272 4044 or Bill Hare +31-6-21296899 Michel Raquet +32 496 163365, or Susan Cavanagh +31 6 212 969 10

(1) Sinks refers to using trees and vegetation to “soak up” carbon dioxide. However the cause of global warming is the burning of fossil fuels, releasing carbon dioxide. Unlimited use of sinks will means that nations will not reduce their emissions from the source of the problem, which is fossil fuels.
(2) Japan, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand are a close negotiating group within the so called “Umbrella” group.

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