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WWF welcomes Australia’s commitment to Kyoto 2, condemns NZ

WWF-New Zealand statement – 9 November 2012

WWF welcomes Australia government’s commitment to Kyoto 2, condemns NZ government’s failure to join

The New Zealand government’s announcement today that it won’t sign up to the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, hours after Australia announced its intention to sign on, is extremely disappointing and leaves New Zealand’s reputation ‘in tatters’, says WWF.

Peter Hardstaff, climate change campaigner for WWF-New Zealand said: “We are extremely disappointed that the New Zealand government is not prepared to commit to legally binding action on climate change. After gutting the Emissions Trading Scheme, the New Zealand government’s credibility on climate change was already dangerously low. Refusing sign up to the second phase of Kyoto leaves New Zealand’s claims to be clean and green in tatters. The government’s approach to climate policy is effectively telling the world we have no intention of reducing our emissions.”

The announcements come just three weeks out from the next UN climate talks in Doha. Australia joins the 27 countries of the European Union plus nine others who have already pledged to be part of the next phase of the Kyoto Protocol, due to start in 2013.

“Australia’s pledge to join the next phase of the Kyoto Protocol is an important move and should be applauded. It’s now important that the emissions target Australia sets for Kyoto2 at the Doha conference represents a minimum level of ambition, not a ceiling, and can be ramped up,” said Mr Hardstaff.

He said that the New Zealand’s decision to only commit to voluntary emissions reductions sent a damaging signal to the rest of the world, particularly developing countries, that it is not serious about reducing emissions: “For years we’ve been saying we need to build trust among developed and developing countries, that we are willing to take action to reduce our emissions. Just weeks out from the next international climate change negotiations, this sends a damaging political signal that will hamper momentum in the negotiations for a new post-2020 deal that will include all countries.”

WWF is calling on the New Zealand government to rethink its approach. We need to make a legally binding commitment and implement policies that can get New Zealand’s emissions on a downward trajectory. Anything less is irresponsible and represents a failure to do our fair share.


Notes to editors

• At the last UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) meeting in Durban in December 2011 nations failed to finalise the deal to reduce global emissions. However they did agree to an extension of the existing deal – the Kyoto Protocol – for either 5 or 8 years.

• The second phase of the Kyoto Protocol is proposed to run from the start of 2013 either for five or eight years; the first phase expires at the end of 2012.

• Australia joins the European Union plus nine other countries (Belarus, Croatia, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Lichtenstein, Monaco, Norway, Switzerland, Ukraine) have made a commitment to signing-on to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. In Durban, Japan, Canada and Russia said they will not sign-on.

• The UNFCCC is meeting in Doha from 26 Nov – 7 Dec 2012.

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