City Soapbox column - Hamilton News
Historic Climate Change Deal Struck
Happy new year to all Hamilton News readers.
I hope the Christmas holidays were enjoyable and relaxing for everyone, despite disappointing weather in many popular northern holiday spots. Our family spent a memorable fortnight in the upper South Island, enjoying wonderful sunny days. Walking the Queen Charlotte Track was the highlight for us all and an experience we will always cherish. What a stunningly beautiful country we are privileged to live in.
The Hamilton West electorate office is now up and running again with another busy year ahead of us. Later this month the Prime Minister will announce the Government’s priorities and programme for the year ahead, building on our commitments to secure further, sustainable growth in New Zealand’s economy, and further improvements in the delivery of public services for New Zealanders.
Last month it was heartening to hear news of the historic global agreement at the Paris conference on climate change. At the conference, Prime Minister John Key announced New Zealand will provide up to $200m in climate finance, particularly for Pacific Island countries, over the next four years, and many industrialised countries have pledged to continue helping vulnerable countries address climate change.
Noting that all countries have committed to taking ambitious action, former Climate Change minister Tim Groser commented that: “we can’t underestimate the significance of 185 countries making emission reduction pledges over the course of this year. The Paris Agreement banks these. While they collectively won’t solve global warming in one hit, the new agreement sets up a process for regular, 5 yearly, updates. This sets the world on a clear pathway to a lower-carbon future.
“New Zealand’s 2030 target, to reduce emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels, is a strong contribution to this global effort,’ said Mr Groser. “As a resource-dependent and export-dependent economy, New Zealand needs an effective global response to climate change. The agreement reached in Paris serves New Zealand’s interests well.”
Further encouraging news was contained in three reports released late last year which show New Zealand met its target for reducing emissions under the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol and is on track to meet its 2020 target.
The Government recently started a review of the Emissions Trading Scheme to assess its operation and effectiveness to 2020 and beyond. This review will look at how the NZ ETS may have to evolve to support New Zealand in further meeting our climate change targets.
Best wishes for 2016 and warm thanks for everyone’s efforts that combine to make Hamilton such a special place in which to live and raise a family.
MP for Hamilton West