The Government is applying "childish logic" to support its decision not to sign up for the next round of binding climate change targets, Green MP Kennedy Graham says.
Targets set under the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 finish at the end of the year and New Zealand has opted not to sign up for the next round of legally enforceable targets.
Instead it would make a non- binding pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the United Nations Convention Framework.
Climate Change Minister Tim Groser said New Zealand would not withdraw from its existing commitments and the latest move was in the country's "best interests".
The Government has also argued that it will align New Zealand with the countries responsible for 85 per cent of global emissions who have not signed binding targets. But Dr Graham said that was nonsense. Many of those were developing countries who everyone agreed should not have to cut emissions yet.
Other government arguments include New Zealand's small size and our not wanting to be the first to bring in costly penalties.
"We are certainly not doing our fair share," Dr Graham said.
New Zealand did not have to worry about being a world leader - we are ranked 32nd in terms of international climate change performance, and saying we were too small to have an impact was "childish logic".
The decision not to sign up to the second Kyoto Protocol period, from 2013 to 2020, was consistent with the Government's poor approach to climate change, he said.
Dr Graham will travel to Doha in December for the next round of international negotiations. He said it was a pivot point for reducing the impact of climate change.
New Zealand's inaction now would make life "immeasurably more hellish further down the line". Efforts to reduce the effects of climate change had failed during the past 20 years and the world now had just eight years left to reach original targets, Dr Graham said.
Several European Union nations and Australia have committed to signing up under the Kyoto Protocol, while the United States will sign only the UN framework.
Prime Minister John Key yesterday told TVNZ's Breakfast show that New Zealand was already playing its part over climate change, including with the emissions trading scheme.
"We are there doing things about climate change. "
- © Fairfax NZ News
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