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The government has signed up to the Copenhagen Accord on climate change, which has already been rejected by two of the world’s major carbon emitters, China and India.
The accord, which was agreed among 26 countries at the Copenhagen summit on climate, is supposed to be step on the path toward replacing the Kyoto Protocol.
These countries include the US, Brazil, South Africa, Canada, Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Climate Change Negotiations Minister Tim Groser has described the summit as disappointing because it did not make any progress on a comprehensive and legally binding agreement.
“What this accord does is provide a framework for more progress to be made,” Mr Groser said. “It aims to set a limit on the temperature rise to 2°C, improves the transparency for developing countries to list their mitigation targets and actions, and acknowledges the need for new mechanisms for funding and technology.”
Under the Copenhagen Accord developed countries have to submit details of their proposed emissions target for 2020. New Zealand has submitted a conditional emissions reduction target range of 10% to 20% below 1990 levels by 2020.
These conditions are:
• a global agreement that sets the world on a pathway to limit global temperature rises of not more than 2°C;
• comparable efforts by other countries;
• actions by advanced and major emitting developing countries fully commensurate with their respective capabilities;
• effective rules governing land use, land use change and forestry; and
• full recourse to a broad and efficient international carbon market.
“New Zealand’s 2020 target will be less than the -10 to -20% range in the event that these conditions are not met as has been previously stated publicly and in international negotiations,” Mr Groser said in a joint statement with Climate Change Issues Minister Nick Smith.
“For our 2020 target to be representative of our fair share, other developed countries will need to set higher targets. Alternatively, New Zealand will need to reduce its target to ensure comparability.
“New Zealand joining the Copenhagen Accord sits well with our Emissions Trading Scheme, our international initiative for the Global Research Alliance on agricultural emissions and our wide range of complementary climate policies.”