An international agreement for a process to replace the Kyoto protocol on climate change has been welcomed by the Government but criticised by the Green Party and environment group Greenpeace.
An international climate change conference at the Indonesian resort island of Bali approved a "roadmap" for two years of talks to adopt a treaty to succeed Kyoto beyond 2012.
Climate Change Minister David Parker, who was at the Bali talks but left before the final agreement was reached, said it meant the Government's proposals to reduce emissions - including a freeze on new power stations that burn fossil fuels - now took on extra importance.
Though the agricultural sector - the country's main greenhouse gas producer - had been exempted from emission targets till 2013, Mr Parker said farmers were already working to reduce emissions, as it would make no sense for them to increase them now when they would be charged for them in just over five years.
Greenpeace spokesman Jim Footner said the agreement failed to deal with the serious emergency the world faced as outlined in reports from the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change.
"It is not enough, but it's a start."
Mr Footner said the US had tried to use a wrecking ball on the talks but had eventually succumbed to enormous international pressure.
Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said the agreement was pretty inadequate and disappointing. "But at least we have an agreement to keep talking".
Business New Zealand chief executive Phil O'Reilly said the deal "was an agreement to have more negotiations". Nevertheless, it would give more certainty to businesses about a continued path to reduce emissions after 2012 and would also provide a boast to the emissions-trading scheme.
But Vincent Gray of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition said the agreement dealt with a problem that did not exist.
- The Dominion Post
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