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Govt's Climate Target Consultation

For Immediate Release
29 June 2009

Eleventh-hour Announcement from Government on Climate Target Consultation

The government's climate target consultation process was announced by Minister for Climate Change Issues Nick Smith last Friday only ten days before the first consultation is set to take place.

From 6 to 17 July, the government will consult the public and businesses on an appropriate 2020 target on greenhouse gas emissions. The target is to be decided in August and be negotiated at the next UN climate negotiations in Copenhagen in December.

New Zealand Climate Action Partnership (NZCAP) is focusing its efforts to ensure maximum participation in this consultation process. NZCAP aims to bring together local and national groups, businesses and all levels of government to show New Zealand's political leaders the public demand for effective action against climate change on the national and global level, with members from Oxfam, Greenpeace, The Sustainability Trust, Nelson Environment Centre, Sustainable Living and Negawatt Resources.

The last-minute, unclear manner of the consultation is a red flag for NZCAP, fearing that the consultation process is being conducted in a manner that is not conducive to including broad representation from public and business sectors. Also, it appears that registration through the Ministry for the Environment is required for stakeholders to attend.

The environmental, human and economic consequences from inadequate climate action are numerous. The driver of the international value of New Zealand's export products is our "Clean, Green" brand image, amounting to billions in exports annually. Continued decline of our natural systems puts this invaluable brand at risk. Lauren Sinreich of New Zealand Climate Action Partnership stated, "Inadequate action will cause continued damage to the natural systems upon which our lifestyles and economies are built. Representation of individuals, groups and businesses from sectors throughout New Zealand at the consultations will be essential in demonstrating the need to protect our economy and our environment."

The Beehive's announcement (Public Consultation 2020 Target Announced) recognised the importance of New Zealand doing its "fair share" in addressing climate change, and "considering scientific, economic, environmental and foreign affairs advice in setting our 2020 target."

Currently, New Zealand's emissions reductions target of a 50 per cent reduction on 1990 level emissions by 2050 leaves a high chance of contributing to a global warming temperature increase over the "safe" amount of 2 ºC. A 2 ºC global temperature increase could create disastrous consequences for natural systems, agricultural yields and coastal cities and societies. According to UN member countries' calculations and in line with NZCAP's stance, New Zealand's "fair" target according to our responsibility and capability is a 40 per cent reduction below 1990 levels by 2020.

Editor's notes:

Consultations will be held in July on the 6th in Wellington, the 7th in Auckland, the 8th in Christchurch, the 9th in Dunedin, the 10th in Queenstown, the 13th in Hamilton, the 14th in New Plymouth, the 15th in Napier and the 17th in Nelson.

Contact the Ministry for the Environment to sign up to attend the consultation.


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