In this post Simon Johnson argues the best analogy for New Zealand’s choice to opt out of a second commitment period (of reducing emissions) under the Kyoto Protocol – is: unfaithful men who won’t commit to their partners! New Zealand governments have behaved faithlessly towards Kyoto. The current National Government under Climate Minister Tim Groser won’t commit to Kyoto stage 2. And the 1990s National Government gave a commitment they had no intention of being faithful to. New Zealand politicians and diplomats intentionally negotiated Kyoto so that New Zealand’s Kyoto target would be met without reducing either gross or net emissions of greenhouse gases
I have argued before that New Zealand did not sign the Kyoto Protocol in good faith. As we seem unable to commit to Kyoto stage 2 in good faith, I have had another look at how faithful New Zealand’s position was at the beginnings of Kyoto and at ratification in 2002.
According to a UNFCCC account of the Kyoto negotiations ‘Tracing the Origins of the Kyoto Protocol: An Article-by-Article Textual History’ on page 48;
“New Zealand was the only Party which made an early, more comprehensive proposal on the treatment of sinks, suggesting that sequestration of greenhouse gases from certain listed categories should be added to a Party’s emission budget” (paragraph 226)
“New Zealand…faxed through a proposal for the treatment of sinks…sinks would not be included in a Party’s baseline, but removals would be credited to a Partys budget (the so-called ‘gross-net’ approach).” (para 227)
(NB ‘Sinks’ meaning forests or land-use or land-use-change that sequesters carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. So the New Zealand diplomats were ‘ahead of the curve’ in negotiating to get forest sinks recognised so they could offset other emissions.)
In October 1997,three weeks before the UNFCCC meeting in Kyoto, Simon Upton, the Minister for the Environment in Jim Bolger’s National Government said in a speech: