Commenting on the publication of a new, possibly final, deal at the UN climate talks in Paris, New Zealand Climate Action Network coordinator David Tong said:
"The latest draft of the Paris Agreement is an important step forward. Countries worldwide are acting on climate change. This agreement will mark the end of the fossil fuel era and the dawn of the renewable energy era. The momentum towards a 100% renewable energy future is unstoppable.
"Although all countries must do more in the coming years, the Paris negotiations show that the New Zealand government is out of step with the world. New Zealand’s government has chosen to take the opposite side of the table from our Pacific neighbours, resisting their calls for a 1.5ºC goal as long as it could, blocking progress on the loss and damage mechanism they need, and turning deaf ears to their calls for increased climate finance.
"And the New Zealand government has also proven that it is out of step with the people of New Zealand. As shown by the People’s Climate Marches nationwide, New Zealanders are leading the transition to a safe, just climate future.
"It’s time for New Zealand’s government to get with the program. While other countries are reaping the economic and social benefits of early adoption, New Zealand’s ministers have instead chosen to use the Paris negotiations as a chance to meet with oil and gas companies.
"Now that we’ve got a global agreement, it’s time for New Zealanders to make our government step up its game. Our 2030 target of only reducing emissions by 11% from 1990 levels must be lifted before the global deal enters force in 2020. The draft Paris agreement asks all countries to consider their emissions targets again in 2018, and New Zealand especially will be under a lot of pressure to up our game. In the context of the new, universal, legally binding deal being struck here in Paris, New Zealand will be hard pressed to retain its current low ambition.
"We have now - under significant pressure - agreed to pursue efforts to limit warming to below 1.5°C, but independent scientists have assessed our 2030 target as one that would commit us to 4°C warming if all countries did the same. New Zealand can do better.
"Further, New Zealand cannot take for granted that it will continue to have the same access to international carbon markets after 2020. What international emissions trading rules apply beyond 2020 remain unclear. So we need a real plan to actually cut our greenhouse gas emissions."
The New Zealand Climate Action Network (or NZCAN) is the New Zealand branch of the international Climate Action Network, a global coalition of around 1,000 NGOs worldwide. NZCAN comprises 18 members, including Greenpeace, Oxfam, WWF, 350, Amnesty International and several others.