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NZ emission reduction target rated better than many

9 December 2009

New analysis of country pledges for climate change emission reductions after 2012 shows NZ’s conditional target of 10-20% rates better than many other countries.

Catherine Beard, Executive Director of the Greenhouse Policy Coalition, who is attending the Copenhagen Climate Change Negotiations, says the New Zealand target stacks up on a comparative analysis basis because rather than just looking a percentage reduction figure below a certain date, a proper comparative analysis takes into account a whole range of things, including population growth, emissions profile and the cost of emission reductions.

“The cost of emission reductions is 8-10 times higher for New Zealand than other countries due to our having a higher population growth, more renewable electricity and half our emissions coming from agriculture, which is highly unusual amongst developed countries.”

The comparability analysis was undertaken by EcoFys, Climate Analytics and the European Climate Foundation and is probably the most comprehensive analysis of country pledges (available online at http://www.climateactiontracker.org/ )

Here is how they rank Annex 1 countries…

Country

Target

Ranking of target’s adequacy

Australia

5-25% below 2000

Inadequate

Belarus

0-10% below 1990

Inadequate

Canada

20% below 2006

Inadequate

Croatia

5% below 1990

Inadequate

EU

20-30% below 1990

Inadequate

Japan

25% below 1990

Sufficient

New Zealand

10-20% below 1990

Medium

Norway

30-40% below 1990

Sufficient

Russia

20-25% below 1990

Inadequate

Switzerland

20-30% below 1990

Medium

Ukraine

20% below 1990

Inadequate

USA

17% below 2005

Inadequate

Catherine Beard says it is important that New Zealand negotiators ensure that any target they commit New Zealand to will be achievable and affordable, and this is only likely to be the case if the majority of the world’s emitters take similar action on a comparative basis.

“Independent public opinion research undertaken for GPC (available at www.greenhousepolicy.org.nz) showed that 73% of respondents were opposed to a 15% emission reduction target if it was going to cost $1400 per person per year.”

Catherine Beard said the costs could be reduced if all major economies took similar action, if New Zealand negotiators were successful at getting better rules for land use change and forestry and there was on-going and improved access to international carbon markets.


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