12 Dec 2010

Cancun agreements hailed by NZ

9:55 pm on 12 December 2010

The New Zealand Government says agreements reached at the climate conference at Cancun in Mexico are the most significant in a decade and substantial progress was made.

Climate Change Ministers Tim Groser and Nick Smith say the agreement represents a step towards a global, legally binding and comprehensive agreement on climate change.

Dr Smith says there is difficult work ahead to set actual emission reductions for individual countries.

"My view is that Cancun was an exercise in doing the good and not the perfect. If we kept hanging out for some sort of perfect agreement we were simply not going to get there, that was obvious from Copenhagen and that's why the agreement in Cancun was so significant", he said.

Delegates on Saturday approved a draft agreement that covers emission targets for developed and developing countries, outlines the setting up of a fund to help poorer nations deal with climate change and describes steps to halt deforestation.

However, the Government says New Zealand has not achieved the gains it sought in some areas, including agriculture and forestry.

It says it will look for progress on those at next year's negotiations in South Africa.

Appointment of Kyoto Protocol chair

A New Zealander has been elected as chair of the Kyoto Protocol at the conference in Mexico.

Career diplomat Adrian Macey has been New Zealand's Climate Change Ambassador for the last four years.

His appointment takes effect immediately. It will involve chairing the negotiations after Cancun on future commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, after the existing agreement expires at the end of 2012.