Key tells world leaders time to face reality

Prime Minister John Key’s speech to leaders at the Copenhagen summit last night reflected New Zealand’s focus on low-carbon development, innovation and influencing the priorities for finance and investment.

Any global deal needed to be able to evolve and keep up with scientific knowledge, technological breakthroughs and economic and social development, he said.

It was sobering to have reached a point of the conference without having made progress on the major issues necessary for a legally binging agreement, he said.

“Any new climate change deal must shift from a system of limited participation to comprehensive global coverage.”

In urging the world’s major economies to take leadership and listen to the voices of vulnerable nations, he said major emitters needed an international commitment to mitigation and adaptation.

He also outlined New Zealand’s emissions profile – heavily influenced by agriculture and forestry – and the country’s special focus on those sectors.

“At the international level, we are advocates of setting the right accounting rules for the agriculture and forestry sector. Rules are essential for ensuring environmental integrity and for giving countries the confidence to set ambitious targets.”

The time had come for leaders to reach an agreement, he said.

“Progress will require commitment, compromise and cash. But now is the time for us all to face reality: that of all the options on the table at Copenhagen, failure is the one we can all least afford.”

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