New Zealand needs to clean up attitude at climate talks
Auckland Wednesday 16 December - New Zealand is bringing a bad attitude to the climate talks in Copenhagen, thinking it can bully small and vulnerable states which are already suffering in the front line of climate change.
“How dare the Government attack countries that are simply trying to save their people, their lands and the climate?” said Greenpeace’s climate campaigner Simon Boxer.
In an interview in Copenhagen Climate Change Negotiations Minister Tim Groser has called developing countries’ attempts to save their land and people “extremist”. He was referring in particular to the African bloc and Tuvalu, which in recent days have attempted to halt the talks on the basis that what’s on the table could mean their demise.
“If New Zealand was facing being wiped off the map, our negotiators would be pretty feisty too,” he said. “This goes right to the heart of the problem here, which is that countries like New Zealand treat smaller developing nations like Tuvalu as if they're expendable.
“John Key will have a lot of work to do when he arrives to show that New Zealand is negotiating in good faith,” Mr Boxer said. “Developed countries, including New Zealand, have refused to honour their promise to agree to targets and are now trying to blame developing countries for the lack of progress.
“These talks will end in climate disaster unless developed country heads of state like Key take control by showing real leadership and commit to strong legally binding targets that achieve at least 40% reductions below 1990 levels.”
187,000 people have now joined New Zealand’s Sign On campaign, which calls for the Government to commit to 40% cuts by 2020 at Copenhagen.
The current range of developed country pledges add up to, at best, 10%-19% (16%-23% for developed countries that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol): not even half way to the 40% minimum that is needed to avoid dangerous levels of climate change.
2. Yesterday, New Zealand was ranked 55th out of 60 in a European Climate Change Performance Index, which ranks major industrialized and developing nations on their efforts to combat climate change. We were considered worse than the United States.
3. At a plenary meeting at the negotiations on Saturday morning many observers were deeply moved by the speech of the Tuvalu delegate who confessed in front of hundreds of delegates and observers to waking up that morning crying because of the likely fate of his country.