5 December, 2012
New Zealand National Statement to UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP18)
Mr President, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen.
I would like to acknowledge the Government and people of Qatar, and thank them for generously hosting our discussions
over these two weeks.
Mr President, New Zealand remains resolutely committed to playing a constructive role in tackling climate change.
We accepted a responsibility target under the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period. New Zealand is on track to meet
We have recently announced that our next commitment, in the transition period to 2020, will be under the UN Framework
Convention. In our clear view, this is both a principled and strategic decision.
A Kyoto Protocol covering less that 15 per cent of global emissions is not - and never can be - an effective response to
meet our two degree goal. It is our past, for some it is our present, but it is not our future.
Durban shaped, and Doha will set in train the transition to 2020. One component is the second Kyoto commitment period.
Another is the full gamut of actions being taken by those who have tabled Convention pledges. Action during the
transition is vital.
You can be assured that New Zealand's mitigation efforts will continue post-2012. We'll set a firm target for the
transition, and intend to apply the broad framework of Kyoto rules in giving an international account of our progress
against this target. We will formally confirm our approach next year, once we know the outcomes from Doha.
In addition to being principled, our action is strategic, because New Zealand will start a process of transitioning key
elements of the architecture created under the Protocol into the broader UN Framework. While the Kyoto Protocol is not
the future - there will be no third commitment period - it is an important foundation for our efforts to tackle climate
The future for climate change is in the Durban Platform. The new legal agreement must fundamentally be about
participation and creating an enabling environment for action by all. If we get this right, then we create the necessary
conditions for a more ambitious and environmentally effective outcome.
New Zealand is, by any standards, a small developed country with the emissions profile of a developing country, yet we
remain determined to do our fair share in addressing climate change. We're also working to extend global emissions
reductions beyond our own footprint.
In June last year we formalised the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases with a Charter signed in
Rome. To date, we have welcomed 32 other countries into this initiative, which addresses the crucial question of how we
feed a growing global population without adding to emissions. We remain committed to working with others to solve this
Our work also extends to the reform of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. We continue to work hard to raise the profile
of this issue, and were pleased it was picked up in Rio this year. It's wrong that we're working to cut fossil fuel
emissions on one hand, but then subsidising their production and use on the other. If ever there were low hanging fruit,
then this is a vital piece.
We also take seriously our responsibility to assist our Pacific Island neighbours, who are particularly vulnerable to
the impacts of climate change. We have focused our fast-start finance on the Pacific, and we are committed to continuing
these climate finance flows next year and beyond.
Our finance for the Pacific includes a major focus on renewable energy and we congratulate Pacific countries for their
efforts in this area. As one example, New Zealand and Tokelau have worked together to convert the electricity supply of
its three atolls from almost 100 per cent reliance on imported diesel to 100 per cent solar – a world first.
In Doha, we must be determined to succeed collectively - not only to define the longer-term - but to continue to act and
implement what we've already set in train in the here and now.
Tackling climate change requires the commitment and action of all Parties. Only with such a comprehensive agreement will
we be able to make a real difference.
As we say in New Zealand’s indigenous language of Maori: Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. Thank you.