Wednesday, August 17, 2016

New Zealand gov't to ratify Paris climate change agreement

The New Zealand government will ratify the Paris agreement on climate change by the end of the year, Climate Change Issues Minister Paula Bennett said on Wednesday.
"The Paris agreement is historic and changed the way the world thinks about climate change. Ratifying it early reinforces our commitment to this deal and our support for the global momentum to grow with lower emissions," Bennett said.

Under the agreement, finalized in December last year, each nation was required to set an emissions reduction target, with New Zealand committing to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent below the 2005 levels by 2030.

"This is an ambitious target that won't be easy for New Zealand to achieve," said Bennett.

The government planned to finalize ratification before the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change conference in November.

However, environment campaigners questioned whether the government was serious about honoring the agreement given its policies that included supporting the intensification of dairy farming and enabling taxes on renewable energies.

"We've seen no sign from this government that it's willing to take the climate threat seriously or pull its weight globally," Greenpeace climate campaigner Kate Simcock said.

The latest Greenhouse Gas Inventory, released in May, showed New Zealand's emissions were at their highest since 1990 and had increased 23 percent in 24 years.

"A large part of New Zealand's emissions profile can be put down to the pro-fossil fuels, pro-pollution policies favored by this government," said Simcock.

"What part of new roads, oil and gas exploration, solar taxes and intensive dairying will help us reach the Paris target?"

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