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Kyoto Protocol enters into force

The Greenhouse Policy Coalition (GPC), which represents New Zealand’s largest employers and energy users on matters relating to greenhouse gas issues, acknowledges the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol on 16th of February.

Executive Director of the GPC, Catherine Beard, says the Kyoto Protocol is a first modest step in the right direction towards reducing global emissions of greenhouse gases, which have been linked to concerns about global warming.

“While the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol is an important first step there are still many challenges ahead. For the Kyoto Protocol to be effective we still need countries such as the USA and Australia to sign up to commitments to reduce emissions and also the growing economies that are major emitters and competitors, such as China and India”, she said.”

“Until the Kyoto Protocol gets broad international support from developing and developed countries to take on equitable commitments to reduce emissions, those countries that put a price on CO2 emissions risk becoming uncompetitive against those that do not. No country that is a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol wants to undermine its economy by making it more costly to do business if other countries are not doing the same. This is a challenge for the Kyoto Protocol that must be resolved before future commitments to reduce emissions will be easily made.”

Catherine Beard says until the issue of broad global commitment has been resolved; the GPC supports the Government’s existing Negotiated Greenhouse Agreement (NGA) policy. “NGA’s are designed to protect New Zealand companies that have their competitiveness put at risk as a result of the proposed carbon tax. In exchange for relief from the carbon tax, NGA companies agree to move towards “Worlds Best Practice” in emissions by 2012.”

Catherine Beard says GPC members are supportive of the efforts to reduce emissions and that they have been reducing emissions in New Zealand since the 1990’s through voluntary actions and agreements with the Government.

“The GPC believes that successful climate change policies will be those that seek the least cost solutions to emission reductions and encourage new cleaner technology development and early adoption of new technology”.

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