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NZ 'Stumbling Block' As UN Climate Talks Close

New Zealand Singled Out As 'Stumbling Block' As UN Climate Talks Close

Auckland, 14 December 2008 ” Greenpeace today challenged the New Zealand Government to take responsibility for action on climate change at the highest level, in the days and months leading to next year's crucial UN climate meeting in Copenhagen.

Prior to the end of the talks in Poznan on Saturday, Tim Grosser the new Climate Negotiations Minister, was hand delivered over 3,000 'tourism' postcards from New Zealanders that asked the NZ delegation to 'sign up to save the climate' (1) and avoid becoming an 'international climate pariah'. The postcards which had images of lambs, kiwis and scenic NZ shots were collected by Greenpeace from the New Zealand public in only one week.

Simon Boxer, Greenpeace New Zealand climate campaigner said; "New Zealanders willingly signed up to the postcard's climate change plea and this shows the Government that Kiwis care about climate change and want them to do something about it."

"Scientists say we must act within ten years to avoid runaway climate change and we've just wasted one of them. The climate collapse has started as demonstrated by the massive Arctic melt within the last two years."

"John Key needs to get the message that he cannot hide from the reality of climate change and the need for New Zealand to meet its international political and moral responsibilities. Future generations of New Zealanders will hold Key responsible for the devastating climate impacts they will experience unless he demonstrates leadership and takes effective action to reduce this county's emissions by 30% by 2020.

"New Zealand continues to be a stumbling block at international climate negotiations. Embarrassingly not only are our emissions increasing at a rate almost double that of the US, but the US are now way out in front of NZ as they commit to help the global climate change cause."

A comprehensive deal in Copenhagen is within reach. Developing countries continue to come forward with constructive proposals and show willingness to act. Messages delivered by US Senator John Kerry and Al Gore in Poznan during the last two days reconfirmed that the Obama administration is committed to tackling climate change in the United States and to achieving an international agreement next year.

"Just as the prospect of restored US leadership in combating climate change is emerging, a handful of developed countries which includes New Zealand have retreated from their obligations and now threaten to squander this opportunity."

Negotiations on deeper cuts for developed countries now won't start in earnest until June 2009, largely due to the efforts by New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Japan who fought every move to make headway on this issue. The meeting accomplished little more than rehashing the same language discussed in the last UN climate conference in Bali last year. "Saying the same thing you said a year ago is not progress."

"Solving the climate crisis demands nothing less than full global cooperation. This is no time to retreat from obligations or weaken commitments. The countdown to Copenhagen has begun. The world is watching." concluded Boxer.

For a full media briefing on Poznan, go to: www.greenpeace.org.nz/poznan

(1) The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has specified that developed countries like New Zealand need to be signing up to binding emissions reductions of between 25-40% by 2020 (on 1990 levels) and an overall emissions reduction target for developed (Annex 1) countries for the period 2013 - 2017 that is consistent with achieving the above reductions by 2020

ENDS

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