New Zealand lowers greenhouse gas emissions target

Wellington, Aug 16 (IANS) The New Zealand government Friday committed to a controversial greenhouse gas emissions target of five percent below 1990 levels by 2020, with critics claiming it had reneged on a higher commitment made in 2010.

"Our 2020 target is more ambitious than our Kyoto Protocol first commitment period target, compares favourably with our traditional partners' actions and reflects New Zealand's unique national circumstances," reported Xinhua qouting Tim Groser, climate change issues minister.

"The target is affordable and demonstrates that New Zealand is doing its fair share to address global climate change. In deciding this target, the government has carefully balanced the cost to New Zealand households and businesses against taking ambitious action to tackle climate change," Tim said.

New Zealand was setting the 2020 target under the UN Framework Convention, the Kyoto Protocol's parent body, rather than the Kyoto Protocol itself, from which New Zealand withdrew late last year.

This means New Zealand was taking a target alongside the developed and developing countries that were collectively responsible for more than 70 percent of global emissions.

"It's important to remember that we're working towards a binding agreement under the convention that, from 2020, will apply to all parties," said Groser.

In February 2010, the New Zealand government, under the Copenhagen Accord, submitted a conditional emissions reduction target range of 10 percent to 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.


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