The Government is defending walking away from the Kyoto treaty after climate-change talks split the international community.
Its position puts it at odds with Australia and 36 other industrialised nations who have signed up to binding emission cuts by 2020 as part of a package of agreements extending the life of the Kyoto protocol at a United Nations conference in Doha.
Climate Change Minister Tim Groser said New Zealand was focusing its political and negotiating attention "beyond the Kyoto protocol to a more comprehensive agreement that is capable of dealing with the real environmental problem - the vast bulk of emissions that would never have been covered by Kyoto".
"That figure is 86 per cent and will reach 90 per cent of total global emissions in a few years. It is a matter of simple arithmetic that the only agreement that makes environmental sense long term is an agreement that deals with the bulk of emissions," Mr Groser said.
Green MP Kennedy Graham slated the Government's stance and said John Key and Tim Groser had made New Zealand a pariah in the international community.
"Mr Groser makes no mention of the fact that New Zealand is to be excluded from access to Kyoto's carbon credit market . . . because of its decision against a second legal commitment.
Mr Groser said it would take time for international carbon markets to "absorb the implications" of what had been agreed at Doha.
But New Zealand would have access to existing Kyoto carbon markets at least until 2015.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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