Auckland - 6 September, 2007 – John Key's support for John Howard and George Bush's stance on climate change is nothing short of frightening, says Greenpeace.
Appearing on Breakfast on TV One, the National Party leader refused to criticise the Australian Prime Minister and US President's position on Kyoto, saying the two leaders were "going in the right direction".
"This is disgraceful," said Greenpeace Executive Director Bunny McDiarmid. "These are the two leaders who are doing their best to derail the Kyoto process at APEC, in order to avoid taking real action on climate change.
"Bush and Howard first denied climate change was even an issue, and have since fought tooth and nail to avoid taking any responsibility for it. To say they are heading in the right direction is just wrong.
"If Bush and Howard got their way, countries would adopt 'aspirational' rather than binding targets to fix the problem. 'Aspirational' is code for voluntary, and would put progress on combating climate change back by 12 years, at a time when climate scientists say we've really only got eight years left to act.
"For John Key to support this stance makes a complete mockery of his previous claim that his party takes climate change very seriously.
Ms McDiarmid said Kyoto may not be perfect, but it's the best international tool to fight climate change, "and it's imperative that it remains in place and is strengthened for the post 2012 commitment period".
She also pointed out that both John Howard and George Bush were pushing nuclear power at APEC as a solution to greenhouse gas emissions.
"I'm assuming this is what John Key was referring to when he said on Breakfast that what Bush and Howard are really saying is 'let's find a technological solution to these problems'.
"If that's a direction John Key supports, then he's completely out of step with his electorate. New Zealanders do not support nuclear power, and for good reason."
Ms McDiarmid said it was extremely worrying that both New Zealand's main political parties were happy to talk a whole lot of rhetoric over climate change but not match that talk with action. "What with the New Zealand Government's recent performance at a United Nations climate change meeting in Vienna*, and John Key's endorsement of Bush and Howard, I am extremely concerned about New Zealand overall position."
Contact: Bunny McDiarmid – 021838183/ Kathy Cumming – 021 495 216
* Officials from 158 countries met in Vienna last week to agree the next steps for negotiating phase two of Kyoto.
The final agreement concludes that a target of emission cuts in the range of 25-40 per cent below 1990 levels, by 2020, is a useful initial parameter to set future emission reductions by industrialised countries. Experts say these are the sort of reductions required to avoid dangerous levels of climate change.
But the agreement was no thanks to the New Zealand government, which, despite all its at-home posturing over climate change, behaved obstructively and shamefully during the negotiations. It objected to the goal of 25-40 per cent cuts, saying it would be too demanding.