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Labour - Cautious Welcome to Copenhagen Outcome

19 December 2009        Media Statement  
Labour - Cautious Welcome to Copenhagen Outcome

The end of the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit appears to be neither a resounding failure nor a major milestone on the road to curbing greenhouse gas emissions, said Labour's Climate Change Issues Spokesperson Charles Chauvel.

Mr Chauvel attended the Conference last week.

"I hope people will look beyond the spin at what seems to have been achieved.  The outcome is obviously not nearly as good as it could have been.  That would have entailed a strong political agreement with a timetable for resolving all outstanding issues.  That is not what has happened", Mr Chauvel said.

"On the other hand, two weeks of discussion have made it abundantly clear what the obstacles to an agreement are, and what the position of the major players on each such issue is.

"Big progress seems to have been made on verification, and on financing developing economies' transition to a low carbon-reliant future.  The momentum of this progress needs to be built on.  At the same time, much more work is needed to set out binding and appropriate targets for both developed and developing countries.

On the issue of targets, Charles Chauvel called on the New Zealand Government for more resolute action.

"Our Prime Minister was a reluctant participant at Copenhagen.  Public opinion made him go.  Now, public opinion needs to show him that a 10-20% pollution reduction target by 2020, with many conditions, achieved by buying credits offshore rather than by actual domestic reductions, is not good enough. 

"New Zealand needs to do its bit.  Copenhagen has shown how powerful the interests at stake against meaningful action are.  It's time for us to move from being part of the problem - being a developed country with a weak target - to being clearly part of the solution. 

"Achieving a comprehensive treaty is possible over the next year.  If New Zealand is to live up to the promise of the rhetoric in the PM's speech here on Friday, a good first step would be to set an ambitious 2020 target, then announce a plan for achieving it", Charles Chauvel said.

"This would put our negotiators in a position of real leadership, and would facilitate the granting of rule changes Ne Zealand seeks in any negotiation.  It's a no-brainer if we are to contribute to eventually getting a meaningful international climate change treaty,” Charles Chauvel said.   


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