23 Sep 2009

US supports NZ climate initiative - Key

6:31 pm on 23 September 2009

The United States has indicated it will financially back a New Zealand-led effort to research climate change and agriculture, Prime Minister John Key says.

Mr Key, who has attended a United Nations climate change summit in New York, says New Zealand is launching a global alliance for research into climate change and food production.

The US has indicated it will put "quite a lot of money" towards the project, he says, and India is also supporting it.

Mr Key has met United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who wants to see a quarter of a trillion dollars given to developing countries to help them adapt their economies to the reality of climate change.

Mr Key is declining to say whether New Zealand would help pick up the bill.

Agriculture Minister David Carter says while New Zealand could find solutions to the problem on its own, it makes sense to link into work other scientists may be doing around the world.

Mr Carter says if there is international acceptance for the global alliance, New Zealand will be prepared to invest some money to help with the research - although how much it is prepared to spend has not been made public.

The Government has appointed a former Environment and Science and Technology Minister, Simon Upton, as a special envoy to help discuss the concept with other countries.

Key meets Clark

Mr Key held a 30-minute meeting with his predecessor Helen Clark, in her new role as head of the United Nations Development Programme.

The pair discussed climate change, the global economy and development issues.

Miss Clark says climate change is a development issue, and if a new international agreement is reached on the matter there will be a lot of money available for development.