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Statement by Hon. Pete Hodgson COP7, Marrakech

Thursday 8 November 2001 Speech Notes

Statement by Hon. Pete Hodgson COP7, Marrakech, Morocco

Mr President

The New Zealand delegation would like to thank Morocco for hosting this meeting. It is the first time that a Kyoto Protocol meeting has been held on this continent, and for many in our delegation it is the first time we have set foot on African soil. It is a delight to be in Marrakech.

If The Hague was an unpredicted failure, and Bonn an unpredicted success, then Marrakech must be a predictable closure of the issues that have consumed us for long enough.

Here is why this meeting, COP7, must resolve procedurally the issues that we have resolved politically already:

Rio+10, the tenth anniversary of the beginning of this journey, is upon us in ten months. The next 48 hours matter. In this time we must demonstrate our ability to reach for solutions, not problems.

The challenge of COP7 is to retain both the spirit and the detail of Bonn and see it pass into settled text today or tomorrow. Differences, ambiguities and genuine mistakes remain, but they are all modest and all resolvable. For some of us the challenge will be knowing when to stop negotiating, recalling that the whole purpose of meeting is to get to "yes".

It is New Zealand's intention to ratify next September. We are the only Umbrella Group nation to have made such a commitment, although we confidently predict that we will be in good company before too long. The chances of the protocol coming into force in South Africa next year are now good.

Why does New Zealand intend to ratify?

Because the scientific evidence of climate change has become stronger, more certain, and more compelling. The genuine skeptics of five or 10 years ago are now something of a global fringe group. Climate change is here and it is becoming more and more evident.

Because New Zealand, as an international citizen, has international obligations - and we mean to discharge those obligations.

Because New Zealand is a developed nation which enjoys that status primarily because it has an equable, predictable climate. Our primary industries matter greatly to us and they cannot flourish if we are to have more floods, droughts or severe storms.

Because New Zealand is part of what we call Oceania, and because Oceania includes many neighbours and friends of ours who live on low-lying Pacific islands. These are small nations whose very existence is threatened by rising sea levels.

Because the economic opportunities that Kyoto presents are significant.

The protocol is about going with technology, not going without. It is about using energy more efficiently; about accelerating the arrival of renewable energy; about reducing our ecological footprint; and about saving or making money as a result. It is about quickening technology transfer, so that emerging nations need not experience the chapter of waste that developing nations have experienced.

So, to a gathering of mostly environmentally-oriented policy makers, I assert that the Kyoto Protocol is about technology, innovation and economic progress - for developed and developing nations alike.

ENDS

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