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February 21, 2005 | by  | in News |
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Kyoto Protocol Takes Effect Worldwide

The Kyoto Protocol came into effect around the world last Wednesday. The first target calls for New Zealand to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2012. The Government plans to reduce New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions through taxes on petrol and electricity. Farming, which produces a significant amount of greenhouse gasses, is exempt for the time being.

Greens Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons believes that this is not enough. “We are miles away from achieving our commitment. To meet our Kyoto target there needs to be real commitment to energy efficiency through both funding and regulation and serious vehicle fuel efficiency standards to discourage the purchase of SUVs and other gas-guzzlers.”

The New Zealand Institute of Economic Research has predicted that the New Zealand economy will suffer under the protocol. “Our existing exports will come under more intense competitive pressure. Additional world demand for our key export commodities is more likely to be captured by the US and by [developing] countries.” New Zealand is especially vulnerable since some of its major trading partners – Australia and the US – are not signatories, and China is exempt.

While the protocol calls for a reduction of greenhouse gasses worldwide below their 1990 levels, climate scientists meeting in Exeter largely agreed that greenhouse gas emissions must be cut by 50 percent by 2050 to avoid an environmental catastrophe.

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About the Author ()

Nicola Kean: feature writer, philanthropist, womanly woman. Nicola is the smallest member of the Salient team, but eats really large pieces of lasagne. Favourites include 80s music, the scent of fresh pine needles and long walks on the beach.

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