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Poznan Meeting on Climate Change: NZ Position

Poznan Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change: NZ Position

The Associate Minister for Climate Change Issues (International Negotiations), Tim Groser, will be leading the New Zealand delegation at the latter stages of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Poznań, Poland, 11-12 December.

This meeting is not about New Zealand’s existing Kyoto Protocol commitments during the First Commitment Period (CP1), 2008-2012. These are not in question and the New Zealand Government is fully committed to meeting them. Nor is the meeting concerned with the specific set of policy measures the New Zealand Government will adopt to meet those commitments. Those measures are currently under review by the Government. The meeting in Poland is part of a series of international negotiations designed to establish an agreed international framework for commitments beyond 2012.

‘The New Zealand delegation will be taking a positive approach to the negotiations in Poland. Human-induced climate change is one of the major challenges of our time. It is of great importance that an international consensus is established to build on the Kyoto Protocol. The New Zealand delegation will participate constructively to build that consensus,” Mr Groser says.

Any successor agreement to Kyoto that might establish commitments and actions beyond 2012 must have fuller participation of countries, particularly the major emitters, whether developed or developing, than is currently the case during the first Commitment Period. The NZ delegation will be working with its like minded parties to establish such a fuller participation.

Each country has its own challenges to face. For New Zealand, there is a particular set of challenges:

We have a low population density which has implications for the transport sector

We already have a very high proportion of renewable electricity generation. This clearly makes a positive contribution to international efforts to limit the effects of human-induced climate change, but limits our scope for large gains in this area.

We are an efficient exporter of a variety of energy intensive industries. Agriculture in New Zealand is globally efficient, and while there is incomplete country coverage under the current Kyoto Protocol, it is obvious that the world would not benefit from a transfer of production from New Zealand to countries that are less efficient in both economic terms and in terms of their relative carbon footprint, quite apart from the economic damage this would do to our exports, on which our jobs and prosperity are based.

We have almost 50% of emissions from agriculture that is unique amongst Annex 1 developed countries. New Zealand has significant research underway into reducing methane emissions from ruminant livestock. The new government plans to intensify our efforts and promote greater international collaboration on means to reduce emissions from agricultural production.

“We share the characteristic of high agricultural emissions with many developing countries for whom food security needs are of paramount importance. If developing countries are to join in any successor agreement to the current Kyoto Protocol, any new international agreement will need a more coherent framework. As the Prime Minster recently indicated, New Zealand will be negotiating aggressively to achieve better rules governing agriculture, land use and land use change. In doing so, New Zealand will be working closely, not just with developed (Annex 1) countries, but also with developing countries at the meeting in Poland and beyond.” Mr Groser says.


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