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New Zealand has joined the Copenhagen Accord on climate change and has submitted its existing conditional 2020 emission reduction target, the Government said today.
The Copenhagen conference, held in December, failed to achieve a binding global agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and instead asked countries to commit themselves to individual targets.
Another conference will be held in Mexico at the end of this year.
Climate Change Minister Nick Smith said New Zealand had submitted its original conditional target range of 10 percent to 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.
The conditions are that a global agreement is reached that sets the world on a path to limit global temperature rises of not more than 2degC, other countries make comparable efforts to New Zealand, and that there are effective rules governing land use, land use change and forestry.
"Joining this accord reinforces New Zealand's ongoing commitment to doing our fair share to resolve this global problem," Dr Smith said.
"For our 2020 target to be representative of our fair share, other developed countries will need to set higher targets. Alternatively, New Zealand will need to reduce its target to ensure comparability."
The minister responsible for international climate change negotiations, Tim Groser, said New Zealand was disappointed the Copenhagen conference did not make progress on a comprehensive and legally binding agreement.
"What this accord does is provide a framework for more progress to be made," he said.
"It aims to set a limit on the temperature rise to 2degC, improves the transparency for developing countries to list their mitigation targets and actions, and acknowledges the need for new mechanisms for funding and technology."
Prime Minister John Key, speaking at his post-cabinet press conference, said expectations for the Mexico conference were not high and countries were still a long way from reaching agreement on a binding target.