Looking to long term

December 10, 2012

New Zealand has been criticised for its decision to opt out of a further commitment to the Kyoto Protocol. But, Minister for Climate Change Issues Tim Groser and Associate Minister Simon Bridges say in doing so they are looking to the long term.

“While the formal agreements are extremely technical, the bigger picture both internationally and specifically for New Zealand is clear. Internationally, the key requirement has been to refocus political and negotiating attention beyond the Kyoto Protocol to a more comprehensive agreement that is capable of dealing with the real environmental problem – the vast bulk of emissions that would never have been covered by Kyoto.

“That figure is 86% and will reach 90% of total global emissions in a few years. It is a matter of simple arithmetic that the only agreement that makes environmental sense long term is an agreement that deals with the bulk of emissions, not an increasingly small part of global emissions,” Mr Groser says.

The Ministers added that they were pleased agreement had been reached on amendments to the Kyoto Protocol that will allow European countries and Australia to continue to use its provisions for the next 8 years, starting from 2013. The Ministers confirmed that New Zealand was on track to fulfilling its own Kyoto commitment for the period 2008-2012 but that the next commitment would be made outside Kyoto.

“This is a long-term problem and we have a long-term strategic approach to deal with it. Internationally, all the focus should now be beyond Kyoto, which up to now has dominated negotiating and political attention, in spite of its decreasing coverage of global emissions. Domestically, we have a world-class emissions trading scheme which we have maintained at current settings in the recent review. At current, deeply depressed international carbon prices its economic impact is low but the Government has no intention of forcing NZ businesses and households to pay higher than world prices in the current difficult international economic climate,” Mr Groser says.

The Ministers noted that it would take some time for international carbon markets to absorb the implications of what had been agreed at Doha and they expected New Zealand carbon markets would be no exception. What was clear, however, was that New Zealand would continue to have access to existing Kyoto carbon markets at least until 2015. What happened after that would be deeply influenced by progress made in negotiating the more comprehensive international Climate Change Agreement as well as progress made in on-going discussions to build regional linkages amongst carbon markets.

“Meeting the real challenge of global climate change has been aptly described as the most complex international negotiating problem the global community has yet tackled. We have every expectation that further progress will be made, but it will be slow, incremental and controversial. New Zealanders should be deeply sceptical of quick fixes and piece-meal solutions. But we are confident that New Zealand has the right strategic long-term approach.”

“This is a long-term problem and we have a long-term strategic approach to deal with it. Internationally, all the focus should now be beyond Kyoto, which up to now has dominated negotiating and political attention, in spite of its decreasing coverage of global emissions. Domestically, we have a world-class emissions trading scheme which we have maintained at current settings in the recent review. At current, deeply depressed international carbon prices its economic impact is low but the Government has no intention of forcing NZ businesses and households to pay higher than world prices in the current difficult international economic climate,” Mr Groser says.

The Kyoto agreement has lots of flaws, not least that it deals with only about 15% of global emissions.

New Zealand is doing more than its share in dealing with the problem and the decision to continue outside Kyoto doesn’t change that.


December 10 in history

December 10, 2012

1041 – Empress Zoe of Byzantium elevated her adopted son to the throne of the Eastern Roman Empire as Michael V.

1508 – The League of Cambrai was formed by Pope Julius II, Louis XII of France, Maximilian 1, Holy Roman Emperor and Ferdinand II of Aragon as an alliance against Venice.

1394 King James I of Scotland was born  (d. 1437).

1520  Martin Luther burned his copy of the papal bull Exsurge Domine outside Wittenberg‘s Elster Gate.

1655 The Royal Netherlands Marine Corps was founded by Michiel de Ruyter.

1684  Isaac Newton‘s derivation of Kepler’s laws from his theory of gravity, contained in the paper De motu corporum in gyrum, was read to the Royal Society by Edmund Halley.

1830 Emily Dickinson, American poet, was born (d. 1886).

1868 The first traffic lights were installed outside the Palace of Westminster in London. Resembling railway signals, they used semaphore arms and were illuminated at night by red and green gas lamps.

1878  Rajaji, India’s freedom fighter and the first Governor General of independent India was born  (d. 1972).

1901 The first Nobel Prizes were awarded.

1902 Women were given the right to vote in Tasmania.

1906 U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt won the Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the first American to do so.

1907 The worst night of the Brown Dog riots in London, when 1,000 medical students clashed with 400 police officers over the existence of a memorial for animals which had been vivisected.

1907 Rumer Godden, English writer, was born (d. 1998).

1908 Ernest Rutherford won the Nobel Prize in chemistry.

Rutherford wins Nobel Prize in Chemistry

1914 Dorothy Lamour, American actress, was born (d. 1996).

1927 The Grand Ole Opry premiered on radio.

1932 Thailand adopted a Constitution and became a constitutional monarchy.

1936 Abdication Crisis: Edward VIII signed the Instrument of Abdication.

1948 The UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Eleanor Roosevelt with the Spanish version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

1949 Chinese Civil War: The People’s Liberation Army began its siege of Chengdu, the last Kuomintang-held city in mainland China, forcing President of the Republic of China Chiang Kai-shek and his government to retreat to Taiwan.

1952 Susan Dey, American actress, was born.

1955 Jacquelyn Mitchard, American novelist, was born.

1960  Kenneth Branagh, Northern Irish actor and director, was born.

1962 New Zealand born Maurice Wilkins won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. His colleagues James Watson and Francis Crick shared the prize for their studies on the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the genetic molecule found in all organisms. Watson used X-rays to show the shape of the double helix.

Wilkins wins Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

1978 Arab-Israeli conflict: Prime Minister of Israel Menachem Begin and President of Egypt Anwar Sadat were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

1983 Democracy was restored in Argentina with the assumption of President Raúl Alfonsín.

1989 Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj announced the establishment of Mongolia‘s democratic movement that peacefully changed the second oldest communist country into a democratic society.

1993 The last shift left Wearmouth Colliery in Sunderland. The closure of the 156-year-old pit marked the end of the old County Durham coalfield, which had been in operation since the Middle Ages.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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