What objectives does New Zealand have at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, and what is the latest advice on the prospect of these being achieved?
New Zealand’s objective is a comprehensive global agreement that limits temperature rises to 2 degrees, or 450 parts per million carbon dioxide equivalent, and that contains the essential elements to achieve this, with mitigation commitments by developed countries and mitigation actions by developing countries. It will not be possible to achieve a ratifiable successor to Kyoto, but it would be a significant step forward to achieve agreement on a political declaration, decisions on early action, and a mandate to progress to a final agreement next year.
What reports has the Minister received on the adequacy of New Zealand’s target of a 10 to 20 percent reduction in 1990 emissions by 2020?
I note that an independent assessment of individual country pledges published in Copenhagen this week by the European Climate Foundation ranks countries from role models to inadequate. New Zealand receives a medium ranking, consistent with our policy of ensuring that we do our fair share as a developed country, and is in the top 10 of countries that have tabled commitments at Copenhagen.
Does he agree with the assessment that the biggest challenge at Copenhagen will be bridging the political gap between developed and developing countries; if so, what steps will New Zealand be taking to assist in resolving these differences?
Yes, I do, because we will not resolve this global problem without getting large developing countries to curtail the growth in their emissions, but they, understandably, want developed countries to take the lead. The initiative announced by John Key at the United Nations General Assembly to develop a global alliance on agricultural emissions is a contribution to assist in this area, and we will be advancing it further at Copenhagen.