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Govt backs Sign On premise at UN climate talks

Govt backs Sign On campaign premise at UN climate talks

Auckland 12 August 2009 - Greenpeace has welcomed the New Zealand Government’s admission that developed countries as a whole must cut emissions by close to 40% by 2020.

“Finally the Government is endorsing the international science on which Sign On is based; John Key needs to put his target where his mouth is,” said Greenpeace Political Adviser Geoff Keey from Bonn.

Overnight, New Zealand told delegates from 190 countries in Bonn that the Government’s emissions reduction target of 10-20% below 1990 levels is dependent on developed countries as a whole cutting their emissions to 30-40% below 1990 levels.

“My jaw hit the floor,” said Geoff Keey, who was in the meeting at the time. “New Zealand has effectively told the rest of the developed world that if they work really hard to reduce their emissions by up to 40% below 1990 levels by 2020, we’ll do half of that.

“There’s been so much rhetoric from the Government about New Zealand doing its “fair share” – they’re now calling for other countries to pick up our slack.”

Contrary to claims on Radio New Zealand by Climate Negotiations Minister Tim Groser, New Zealand’s target has not been well received internationally.

The statement from New Zealand came after the Philippines delegate questioned the New Zealand representative on how it matched its 10-20% target with its requirement that the rest of the world be on a pathway to stabilise global warming at 2 degrees.

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New Zealand was also questioned on its target by Colombia, South Africa, Micronesia, Sweden, Saudi Arabia and Bolivia.

“After weeks of the New Zealand Government telling New Zealanders that Greenpeace is being completely unrealistic to ask for 40%, they appear to be demanding that from the rest of the developed world,” said Keey.

New Zealand also admitted that the 2020 target will be achieved mostly by carbon offsets and not through actual emission reductions.

“Despite challenging Greenpeace to outline a plan to reduce emissions by 40%, it seems the Government has no plan to reduce emissions at all, instead hoping it can buy its way out of the problem.”

This prompted the South African delegate to challenge the New Zealand Government, noting that New Zealand was creating a dilemma for developing countries by demanding greater action from them on one hand, for which they
wouldn’t get carbon credits, while also expecting to be able to buy carbon credits from those countries.

“"The Government needs to start pulling its weight. At the moment all it's doing is embarrassing New Zealanders on the world stage",” said Geoff Keey.

ENDS

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