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Clark must defend Kyoto at APEC

23 August 2007

Clark must defend Kyoto at APEC

The Green Party is challenging Prime Minister Helen Clark to defend the core Kyoto principles against the attempts by George Bush and John Howard to destroy them at APEC.

A leaked draft of the declaration for the APEC conference due to be held in Sydney between September 2-9 shows it would take the world seriously backwards in addressing climate change, Greens Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

" The leaked draft runs counter to the Kyoto agreements on the following points," Ms Fitzsimons says :

* the binding targets on which Kyoto is based are replaced with "aspirational" targets which require no commitment and which entail no consequences if they are not reached.

* targets are expressed as reductions in "energy intensity" (energy used per $ of GDP) rather than in greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, if a country is using 2 percent less energy to make a tonne of steel but is making 4 percent more steel, greenhouse gases will escalate but nations can say they have met their target.

* there are no timetables for action - unlike Kyoto, which requires a target to be met by 2012.

* the baseline against which reduction in energy intensity is to be measured is 2005, not 1990.

* the research collaboration that the declaration sets up is clearly designed to prioritise coal with carbon capture and storage, which will take years to work - if ever - and which will never capture all the emissions from using coal. Renewables research will be crowded out. No new money is committed for any of this.

"Leading scientists are saying we have only a decade to turn around our rising emissions, or climate change may become unstoppable. The Prime Minister must stand up against the nonsense being proposed at APEC, and hold out for binding targets and timetables for the sake of all our children," Ms Fitzsimons says.

"Kyoto established the core principles of binding targets to reduce emissions, a system of measuring and verifying progress against a 1990 baseline and a least-cost approach which allows countries to fund reductions in other nations where that is the cheapest option. All that is at risk from the APEC proposals.

"New Zealand's key allies at APEC should be Japan and Canada - the other OECD economies that have ratified Kyoto. We will need to be working with them. We cannot allow countries that have hitherto dragged their feet on climate change - such as the US and Australia - to set the pace of APEC's response," Ms Fitzsimons says.


ENDS

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