NZ criticised over climate change stance

New Zealand has been criticised for its "irresponsible'' lack of commitment to stopping climate change.

At the two-week UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa, an agreement has been reached to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

But New Zealand had failed to back positive initiatives in Durban and was failing to take global responsibility to prevent climate change, said Greens climate change spokesperson Kennedy Graham.

"The UN has called for 25 per cent to 40 per cent emission cuts by the rich countries by 2020. The draft documents at Durban have included this call. In response, New Zealand has promised a woefully inadequate 15 per cent cut conditional on the policies of others,'' he said.

Greenpeace also supported a solution to climate change that rested on political commitment.

Spokeswoman Bunny McDiarmid said New Zealand should have supported the stance taken by "progressive countries'' at the summit, including Pacific Island countries, to have a legally-binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"We only have one atmosphere. New Zealand is incredibly dependent on the climate and it's becoming increasingly unpredictable. I think some countries are being incredibly myopic and selfish on this,'' she said.

Ms McDiarmid said a legally binding agreement that should be actioned by 2015 to help to prevent dangerous climate change, but New Zealand was not working to help global interests.

"The clock is ticking. I think people around the world are getting incredibly frustrated and angry with the lack of political commitment to come up with a collective response to this issue.''

The 194-party UN conference agreed today to start negotiations on a new accord that would put all countries under the same legal regime to enforce their commitments to control greenhouse gases. It would take effect by 2020 at the latest.

Currently, only industrial countries have legally binding emissions targets under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Those commitments expire next year, but they will be extended for another five years under the accord adopted today.

For the first time, it would bring all the major emitters, including China and India, unto the same legally binding roof.

Until now, developing giants have had no such constraints on their carbon pollution.


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