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NZ rearranges deckchairs while ice shelf collapses

NZ rearranges deckchairs while ice shelf collapses

Auckland Monday April 6 2009 - As the Wilkins ice Shelf draws closer to collapse in Antarctica (1), the New Zealand Government continues to contribute absolutely nothing towards progress on a climate deal in Bonn.

Delegates are meeting in the German city for the first stage of the UN climate talks which culminate in Copenhagen in December.

"Wilkins provides us with one of the starkest reminders of just how fast climate change is occurring and yet the New Zealand Government still refuses to face facts," said Greenpeace Political Adviser Geoff Keey, from Bonn.

"Along with Russia and the Ukraine, New Zealand is refusing to put forward a proposed national emission reduction target. This backward and unhelpful position is contributing to the glacial pace in which the talks are proceeding.

"As climate change in the real world becomes more visible by the day, New Zealand remains in a bubble where it thinks it can weasel out of international obligations. This must change. At the moment we're not climate leaders, we're not even playing our part, we're laggards."

Greenpeace is calling on the New Zealand government to commit to a target of 40 per cent emission reductions by 2020.

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Notes to editors:

(1) quoting British Antarctic Survey

* The Wilkins Ice shelf in Antarctica after a progressive decline and retreat over some years is now threatened with further collapse of the "ice bridge" which is the last connection to Charcot Island and which pins the remainder of the shelf in place. This may result in destabilisation and a total collapse of the shelf. It is probable that the current reduction in ice-shelves in the region has no precedent in the last 10,000 years, and certain that this minimum has not been reached at any time in the last millennium. Since the ice-shelves are floating, their collapse will not in itself contribute to sea level rise. Nonetheless, any resultant increase in the "flow" of inland glaciers due to the loss of the shelves, together with increased meltwater runoff will add to sea level rise.


ENDS

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