1 Feb 2010

NZ submits emissions reduction target to UN

10:23 pm on 1 February 2010

The New Zealand Government says it will meet an international deadline to provide a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The United Nations' summit on climate change in Copenhagen in December ended without a legally binding treaty.

However, a non-binding Copenhagen Accord was signed by more than 25 countries and requires them to submit emissions reduction targets for 2020 before 1 February.

Prime Minister John Mr Key says New Zealand will aim for a reduction of 10% to 20% below 1990 levels by 2020.

However, Mr Key says the target is conditional on comparable efforts by other countries, effective rules for land use and forestry, and the creation of a broad and efficient international carbon market.

Mr Key says if those conditions are not met and other countries do not "step up" then New Zealand will reduce its target.

Climate Change Minister Nick Smith believes the Copenhagen Accord is no more than a stepping stone to a binding treaty.

However, he told Checkpoint though the accord is not a solution, it is better than nothing.

EU sets 20% emissions target

Countries responsible for producing more than 80% of the world's greenhouse gases have already met the accord deadline.

The European Union has set an unconditional target to cut emissions by 20% compared with 1990 levels and will raise that to 30% if other countries make an equal effort, the ABC reports.

Australia will have a 5% reduction target and will only lift its target if countries such as China, India and the United States agree to verifiable reductions.

The UN's Climate Change Secretariat is to publish a list of signatories on Monday.

The Copenhangen Accord included a recognition to limit temperature rises to less than 2 degrees Celsius and promised billions in aid for developing nations over the next three years to cope with the impact of climate change, the BBC reports.