20 Oct 2015

Groser optimistic about climate change talks

6:07 pm on 20 October 2015

Climate Change Issues Minister Tim Groser says he is optimistic about upcoming international climate change talks, but cautions that "nothing is too big to fail".

Tim Groser

Tim Groser Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

It is just over a month before countries gather in France for COP21, the Paris Climate Conference, with the ambitious aim of reaching a binding agreement on climate change that applies to all countries.

The agreement is supposed to enable a limit on global warming to below 2 degrees.

Mr Groser outlined his big hopes for Paris at a small summit in Auckland, where delegates gathered for the Australia-New Zealand Climate Change and Business Conference.

He said the science around climate change was "beyond any argument" and it was crucial Paris reached a binding agreement.

"Will we get there? Well nothing is too big to fail.

"I've just been through this on the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) negotiations - where frankly - if they'd tried to force it to a conclusion at the penultimate talks in Maui, I think I would've collapsed.

"I don't think we would have been part of the deal. So nothing is too big to fail, including Paris."

But Mr Groser said he would be very surprised if a deal was not reached, and that the stage was set for a far more mature agreement after "chaos" caused by the Copenhagen round of talks in 2009.

"I would be very surprised if Paris is a collapse, very surprised.

"I'll be a bit disappointed if what we get out of Paris is simply a very thin document with principles only and nothing inside it... I think that's the real danger rather than political collapse."

New Zealand is submitting targets unveiled by the government in July.

That target is to reduce the country's greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Paris Climate Conference official video

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