Bali background book: IPS examines NZ’s place in post-Kyoto deal-making

Towards a New Global Climate Treaty: Looking Beyond 2012, edited by Jonathan Boston, with contributions by Ralph Chapman, Pamela Chasek, Steve Hatfield-Dodds, Colin James, Lucas Kengmana, Adrian Macey and Murray Ward, Institute of Policy Studies, VUW, November 2007.

The Institute Of Policy Studies at VUW has played an influential role in the development of New Zealand’s climate policy, through books, seminars and conferences. Some of the stuff they organise is so interesting that it makes me (almost) wish I lived in Wellington. This latest book – a follow-up to last year’s excellent Confronting Climate Change – draws on a series of roundtable discussions hosted by the IPS during mid-2007. About 120 people from sectors with an interest in climate policy – energy, agriculture, industry and many others – took part, and their comments provide a counterpoint to the more theoretical considerations of the various chapter authors.

I’m not going to attempt a detailed review of the content of the book – it’s sometimes dense, detailed and theoretical – but it does provide an excellent overview of the domestic and international context for the post-Kyoto negotiations, as well as look in considerable depth at the policy objectives the government might adopt, and how that flows from – and impacts – sectoral interests. The chapter on forestry and land use change is particularly valuable, as is Jonathan Boston’s opening chapter, which gives a swift tour d’horizon of the current situation. Boston and Ralph Chapman’s summary of the current science and its implications for emissions reduction targets and stabilisation targets is also highly recommended.

You won’t find this at the top of the non-fiction charts, but if you really want to know what’s going on in climate policy development here and overseas, there is no better place to start.

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