Wednesday, 15 November 2006

Parker - The world needs to cooperate on climate change

Hon David Parker: The world needs to cooperate on climate change
16 November 2006

The world needs to cooperate on climate change

Addressing climate change will require cooperation across the world. We
must be innovative in our approach, including helping developing
countries to achieve not just climate change goals, but also their own
sustainable development objectives.


New Zealand's statement to the Joint High Level Segment of the
Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Climate Change Convention, and
to the Meeting of Parties (MOP) to the Kyoto Protocol.United Nations
Climate Change conference, Nairobi, Kenya

Mr President

I bring greetings from New Zealand and thank you and your Government
for hosting us here in Nairobi. It is appropriate that the world has
come to Africa, a cradle of humanity, to discuss climate change.
Climate change brings significant and critical challenges that will
affect humanity for many generations.

Most children born today should live well into the second half of the
century. Our children and our children's children should and will judge
us harshly if we do not act responsibly. We have better technologies,
better communications, better information better knowledge and more
money than any generation that has gone before us. We have vast
capability, but with these powers come risks and responsibilities.

The scientific evidence is clear. Climate change has moved well beyond
being just an environmental debate, it is now an ethical and economic
issue. It is a defining issue of the 21st century.

Addressing climate change will require cooperation across the world. We
must be innovative in our approach, including helping developing
countries to achieve not just climate change goals, but also their own
sustainable development objectives. To this end, we should seize the
opportunity to make the Kyoto Protocol a more effective instrument by
reviewing it at the same time as we look towards establishing the
future commitments which will apply after 2012.

It is quite clear that the current Kyoto Protocol framework alone will
not deliver sufficient emissions reductions to avoid dangerous climate
change. The way in which we tackle climate change in the future will be
nuanced. The contributions that different countries make will reflect
their varying national circumstances.

We must find a way to reduce projected greenhouse gas emission levels
beyond the reductions already in the Kyoto "pipeline". The Stern Review
underlines the need for broad international participation in this
effort. We must not lose sight of critical issues such as sustainable
development and equity. Equally, we must keep our focus on the
imperative of reducing global emissions.

We should seek ways to reduce projected emissions and enhance removals
by sinks at least cost, regardless of where these activities occur. To
this end, we must seek to build on the lessons learned from the Kyoto
flexibility mechanisms.

Technology will have a huge role to play. For New Zealand, our single
largest source of emissions - 50% - is from pastoral agriculture - the
foundation of our economy. It is an area where we have a long history
of research and development. Despite our small size, our research
effort in agriculture is world-scale. We have already made significant
progress in new technology to reduce nitrous oxide emissions from
agriculture. This is part of our contribution to the world effort to
reduce emissions. We haven't made much headway yet in our research to
reduce ruminant methane emissions from livestock, but we want to work
with other countries to advance progress in this area. This will be a
focus of our bilateral meetings at this conference.

In New Zealand, we are well down the path to updating our climate
change policies. We are looking long-term, at policies that reduce
emissions while making sense for our national circumstances. Policies
under development also maximise the co-benefits of taking action on
climate change, such as more efficient use of energy and improved land
use management. We are also looking to balance durable efforts to
reduce our emissions with preparations for the impacts of a more
variable climate.
New Zealand already generates 70% of its electricity from renewable
sources - the third highest percentage in the developed world after
Iceland and Norway. So while the forthcoming New Zealand Energy
Strategy will build further on our commitment to renewables, the truth
is we can't find the same emissions reductions in the power generation
sector which other countries can.

In transport, we are like most countries. We have a real challenge on
our hands. To reduce transport emissions will require a combination of
improving the fuel efficiency of our vehicle fleet, better public
transport and new, lower-emissions transport fuels. On the latter
point, growing biofuels will be an important part of the development of
alternative transport fuels. New Zealand also hopes to be able to help
our Pacific Island neighbours to develop a market in feedstock for
sustainable biofuels, for both their own use, and to help the world
reduce its transport emissions. This will have both economic and
environmental benefits. Beyond biofuels, electric car technology
powered by our renewable electricity will be important for reducing
emissions from our urban vehicles.

The New Zealand Government sees benefit in the Kyoto mechanisms. These
can assist the formation of carbon markets, which help find the
lowest-cost emissions reductions across the world, as well as achieving
wider sustainable development objectives.

Adaptation is essential to address as part of climate change
priorities. This is clearly relevant in Africa. Closer to my home,
countries in the Pacific face particularly severe climate impacts. It
is inevitable that we will need to help manage the effects of some
climate change. We must deal with this. We are working with countries
in our region to deliver their climate change priorities.

Last, but certainly not least, New Zealand is committed to playing its
part in international efforts to address climate change. As you will be
aware, we are the only country in the Southern Hemisphere which has a
binding Annex 1 emissions reduction target. This causes us some cost,
but we see this as moderate compared to the cost of more extreme
climate change.

We are resolved to meeting our commitments under both the Framework
Convention and its Kyoto Protocol. Representing only 0.3 per cent of
global emissions, we can't do it on our own; we need company. So we are
committed to working with other nations here to develop the new
international climate change arrangements needed after 2012. We can
only achieve this if we work together in an open and constructive
manner. Mr President, the choice is ours.

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