Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is an APNZ news reporter based in Wellington.

Climate report 'bad news' for New Zealand

Huntly Power Station. Photo / File
Huntly Power Station. Photo / File

The latest global report on climate change is "bad news" for New Zealand, which has far fewer mitigation policies than other advanced economies, the Green Party say.

But Climate Change Minister Tim Groser says New Zealand is doing its fair share to tackle climate change, and its emissions targets are comparable with many developed countries.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report - which deals with the mitigation of climate change - last night.

It comes a fortnight after the IPCC released its report on the impacts of climate change, which painted a bleak picture of the earth's future unless urgent action was taken.

Greens climate change spokesman Kennedy Graham said the latest report warned deep and fast emissions cuts were needed by all countries over the next two decades if the world was to avert worst-case scenarios.

It was "bad news" for the Government, he said.

"When you compare New Zealand to other advanced developed economies, we have far fewer mitigation policies, and our emissions profile is abysmal," Dr Graham said.

"We have to turn this around if we're to play our part in the global fight against climate change."

Mr Groser said New Zealand was doing its fair share on climate change, both to restrict its own emissions and support the global efforts needed to make the cuts that will limit warming.

The country had made an unconditional commitment to reduce emissions by 5 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 - a target that was "comparable with the targets of many other developed countries".

"We are leading international research into reducing agricultural emissions, which are a significant contributor to total global emissions," Mr Groser said.

"We are working with other countries in the Asia Pacific on the development of international carbon markets, and we are helping vulnerable Pacific neighbours adapt to climate change and mitigate its impacts, with more than $80 million pledged over the next three years.

"We are making inroads that will gradually restrict our own emissions. We are a country with a growing population, yet the emissions intensity of our economy has decreased by more than one quarter since 1990."

Mr Groser said the latest IPCC report emphasised the need for a truly global agreement next year to ensure efforts to cut greenhouse gases were effective.

"The IPCC report identifies that effective climate change mitigation requires international co-operation.

"That tells me New Zealand is on the right track in pressing for a binding international agreement on emissions beyond 2020 that is genuinely global in its scope and flexible, catering for countries' individual circumstances and allowing them to play to their strengths."

- APNZ

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