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NZ expert to chair international climate group

30 January 2008 Media Statement
New Zealand expert to chair international climate change group

New Zealand climate change expert Helen Plume has been elected to chair an important scientific group under the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Helen, a senior member of the Climate Change Policy team at the Ministry for the Environment, will chair the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) for the next two years. This is the first time New Zealand has held such a role.

“I’ve already worked for several years as co-chair for various SBSTA agenda items and earned a reputation for getting things done. I’m delighted my colleagues in Australia, Europe, Japan, the US and others think I’m worthy to chair this group,” said Helen.

Climate Change Minister David Parker congratulated Helen on her appointment, saying it was an honour that recognised Ms Plume’s competence and dedication to climate change issues.

“The hard work of officials like Helen Plume has been instrumental in building the reputation for leadership on climate change that New Zealand holds in the world today. Her appointment to this senior role reflects her exceptional ability.”

SBSTA’s role is to provide advice to the Conference of Parties under the UNFCCC. Its agenda is broad, covering areas such as adaptation to the impacts of climate change, technology transfer, deforestation, research, and methodologies for greenhouse gas inventories.

Its work will include issues referred from the work programme coming out of the recent climate change conference in Bali where delegates agreed to launch a two-year process of formal negotiations to strengthen international efforts to fight, mitigate and adapt to the problem of climate change.

Helen was one of a number of government officials who attended the Bali conference, and colleague Len Brown chaired a session about improving access to greenhouse gas data.

The Ministry for the Environment’s Howard Larsen is New Zealand’s representative on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which won 2007’s Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Al Gore.


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