Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully needs to table a New Zealand emissions reduction target while at the UN climate summit in New York this week, the Green Party said today.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon convened the summit so countries can give an indication of the emission reductions they intend to make by 2030.
“So far National has not been upfront about what it’s prepared to do as part of global efforts to tackle climate change,” said Green Party Climate Change Spokesperson Dr Kennedy Graham.
“This is likely due to National’s abysmal record on climate. Under National, New Zealand’s emissions will get worse. On current government projections, our net emissions will rise 50 percent in the next 10 years.
“Official documents show National is struggling with the growing divide between the obligation to reduce emissions and New Zealand’s actual emissions profile.
“You can see the problem McCully has, but now is the time for National to get its act together, show some leadership and turn this failure around.
“McCully’s chief purpose for being at the UN is to further New Zealand’s bid for a seat on the Security Council.
“It is folly to lobby for that seat while ignoring one of the biggest threats to global security - climate change.”
A senior Pentagon official said earlier this year that the accelerating rate of climate change poses a severe risk to US national security and acts as a catalyst for global political conflict.
“It would arguably boost our chances of attaining that UN seat if John Key’s Government showed a genuine commitment to tackling climate change,” said Dr Graham.
National has a target of five percent reduction in emissions from 1990 levels by 2020, but will only meet it by purchasing offsets. When questioned by the Green Party in January, National refused to reveal a 2030 target. The European Commission has agreed to a 40 percent cut from 1990 levels by 2030.
“National’s commitments to date falls well below what is needed from New Zealand,” said Dr Graham.
“We have a moral responsibility to act, yet taking action on climate change also presents a unique opportunity to transition to a smarter, cleaner, more prosperous economy.”