10, Dec, 2002

New Zealand Kyoto ratification vital to Protocol

Category: Bay of Islands Coastal Watchdog

Auckland; New Zealand's ratification of the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change today means the Protocol only needs Russia for it to come into force.

"New Zealand's decision to ratify Kyoto has turned out to be vital for the entry into force of the Kyoto climate convention. All countries need to be involved in solving the enormous challenge of climate change. New Zealanders should be proud of the part their Government has played in this historic agreement," said Robbie Kelman, Climate Campaigner.

"United Nation's scientists have long predicted increased fire and drought in Australia as a result of climate change**. We are seeing this very clearly now," said Kelman.

"The idea that global warming simply means milder, more pleasant winters is dangerously simplistic. Climate change means rising sea levels, it means the collapse of ecosystems like coral reefs, it means changing weather patterns for New Zealand. Climate change is not a game.

"Australia's saddling up to the US by refusing to ratify Kyoto is blatant politicking and disregards the fact that the world’s climate is changing. Climate change requires international leadership - Australia and the US are failing to show this," said Kelman.

"Kyoto is just the first step. Preventing dangerous climate change will require Government action to phase out fossil fuels. New Zealand, and all countries, need to develop strategies to build new renewable energy industries."

* Notes to Editors: For the Protocol to come into force requires 55% of developed country greenhouse gas emissions to be represented. So far 37.4% of emissions are accounted for in ratifying countries; Russia accounts for 17.4%; which leaves a vital missing 0.2%. New Zealand accounts for this 0.2% and this will now be added to the total, leaving only Russia to equal 55%. Details can be found at: http://www.unfccc.int/resource/kpthermo.html

** http://www.ipcc.ch/pub/wg2TARtechsum.pdf