Deadline for climate treaty won't be met - Macey

A new international treaty on climate change is unlikely to be completed by the end of this year, MPs were told today.

New Zealand's climate change ambassador Adrian Macey told the parliamentary inquiry into the emissions trading scheme that the ongoing negotiations were complex and involved political compromises that had yet to be reached.

Mr Macey believed there would be no comprehensive agreement reached at a conference scheduled for the end of the year in Copenhagen.

Instead there would be a framework agreement allowing for further negotiations.

There was an end of year deadline for a global agreement to craft a successor pact to the carbon-capping Kyoto Protocol which comes to an end in 2012.

The negotiations have been difficult because of the need to bring the United States into the climate change treaty and accommodate the different circumstances of developing countries.

Mr Macey said New Zealand was negotiating hard on the coverage of agriculture and the subject was to be covered comprehensively at meetings in March/April for the first time.

The final agreement would set targets for emission reduction.

New Zealand was taking the stance that it would not sign up to targets until the rules were settled.

Mr Macey said the Kyoto Protocol negotiations - where New Zealand agreed to targets before knowing the rules - had not gone well in some areas, such as forestry, because it had been disadvantaged by the final outcome.

The parliamentary inquiry was set up in response to the new Government's decision to replace the ETS set up by Labour, which National believed was flawed and too damaging to the economy.