New Zealand will not sign up for fresh commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change Minister Tim Groser announced yesterday.
The climate change treaty’s first commitment period expires at the end of the year and New Zealand expects to slightly exceed its target.
But it is joining Japan, Canada and Russia – and parting company with Europe and Australia – in pulling out of the Kyoto system going forward.
Groser said Kyoto would now cover only about 15 per cent of global emissions.
It was better to contribute to efforts under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to reach a deal that would tackle the lion’s share of the problem.
There was just too much uncertainty about what would be achieved in international climate talks, and by when, for New Zealand to lock itself into another binding commitment, most likely until 2020.
“I don’t think it is on balance in New Zealand’s interests to be stuck in the Kyoto space for another eight years,” Groser said. “I don’t want to tie a future Government’s hands to that for eight years.”