The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade leads New Zealand's representation at international climate change negotiations, in conjunction with experts from the Ministries of the Environment, Primary Industries, the Treasury, and other government agencies.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [external link] (UNFCCC) sets the international framework for addressing climate change. The UNFCCC was signed in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and today has 194 parties. At the moment, negotiations are focused on emissions reductions by developed and developing countries, steps to adapt to climate change, the technology and financial support needed to help developing countries take action, and the future of the Kyoto Protocol after 2012.
The Kyoto Protocol [external link] is a treaty under the UNFCCC. It commits participating developed countries to individual, legally binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over a first commitment period of 2008 to 2012. To date, 184 countries have become Parties to the Protocol.
Alongside the Kyoto Protocol, under what is known as the Convention Track, 90 countries (responsible for more than 80 per cent of global emissions and 90 per cent of the global economy) have made international pledges to reduce or limit carbon pollution by 2020. These countries include China, the United States, members of the European Union, India and Brazil.
Cabinet decisions and New Zealand’s international climate change policy provide the following overarching guidance:
More background is available on the Ministry for the Environment website [external link].
Stakeholder Sessions will take place in Auckland and Wellington in early November 2012. At them, New Zealand Climate Change Ambassador Jo Tyndall will reflect on the year’s progress in climate change negotiations and talk about some of the challenges for the upcoming United Nations climate change talks. There will be opportunity to ask questions as well as offer your view.
Big ticket items for the meeting include upholding the milestone deal reached last year in Durban by progressing negotiation of a new global legal agreement on climate change through the “Durban Platform” negotiations, concluding the 2007 Bali Action Plan, and launching a second commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol.
If you’re going to be at the Doha meeting, please let us know so that we can invite you to a daily stakeholder briefing and other events. Please send an email to email@example.com with the subject “Attn: Climate Change Team”.
At Bangkok good progress was made toward an achievable outcome for the Doha talks. Discussions on the substance of the two work streams in the Durban Platform negotiations (ambition and the negotiation of a new climate change agreement) began. Kyoto Protocol negotiations focused on the amendments to be adopted in Doha, heralding the start of the second commitment period. Discussion also took place on whether there were any further areas of convergence before the mandated closure of the negotiating track on Long-term Cooperative Action (the Bali Action Plan) at Doha, which will be moving into an implementation phase.
The Bonn UNFCCC inter-sessional meeting in May this year held the inaugural sitting of the Ad-Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform (ADP) – the platform in which to negotiate a post-2020 international climate change agreement.
The 17th UNFCCC Ministerial conference was held in Durban late last year. The package of agreements reached included:
New Zealand played a significant role in the overall Durban outcome. At the request of the South African Presidency, as a Ministerial facilitator Minister Groser successfully pulled together the complex package on mitigation and transparency. Dr Adrian Macey, as Chair of the Kyoto Protocol negotiations and under delegation from the Presidency, pulled together the Kyoto Protocol decision in lieu of ministerial facilitation.
At Durban both New Zealand and Australia reserved the decision of whether to position itself with Europe in making its next set of international commitments under a Kyoto Protocol second commitment period or to join the group (including the United States, Canada, Japan, Russia and alongside developing countries including China and India) making commitments under the Convention.
More background is available on the Ministry for the Environment website [external link] and the Ministry for Primary Industries website [external link].
Detailed reporting of international climate change negotiations can be found at the Earth Negotiations Bulletin.
Developed countries made a commitment at the 15th Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen, in December 2009, to provide “fast-start finance” approaching US$30 billion for the period 2010-2012 to support the climate change needs of developing countries. As part of the global effort, New Zealand has committed financing of up to NZ$30m per annum in grant funding over the three-year fast-start period.
Read New Zealand’s fast-start finance progress report for 2011 [PDF, 365kb] and it is also available from the UNFCCC website [external link] along with reports from other developed countries.
New Zealand makes a range of submissions to the UNFCCC Secretariat throughout negotiations, expressing its view on specific and technical aspects of the negotiations. All Parties’ submissions are available on the UNFCCC website [external link].
The Ministry welcomes feedback on international climate change negotiations and related issues. We hold public meetings several times a year, and stakeholder engagement meetings prior to the Conference of Parties in November/December each year.
If you would like to be notified about these meetings, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Attn: Climate Change Team”.
Please tell us the company or organisation you represent (if relevant) and the particular interest you have.