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April 3, 2006 | by  | in News |
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Long term outlook: warm – But at least the conference was successful

People from all over the world last week packed out Te Papa to participate in the University-organised Conference on Climate Change, with the conference touted as a success by organisers.

The two day conference aimed to explore both scientific and policy aspects of climate change, gathering experts from both New Zealand and around the world. Of particular interest was a keynote speech given by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, whose speech was so popular even an ‘overflow room’ was packed out.

Blair said it would be “deeply irresponsible” not to take action on climate change, and added that even though countries such as Britain and New Zealand could not single handedly reduce carbon dioxide emissions by themselves, they could “lead by example.”

Second year Public Policy student Nathan Bittle was given the opportunity to ask Blair about the sustainability of the current policy. In response, Blair urged young people to “keep up the pressure on all of us to deal with this issue responsibly and quickly.”

Bittle says, although he felt Blair “kind of dodged [the question] a little bit,” the conference was an “eye opener.” However he says more solutions to the issues of climate change could have been offered.

Conference organiser and Professor of Policy Studies at the School of Government, Jonathan Boston, says the conference went “extremely well,” adding that a formal statement from the proceedings was “neither possible nor desirable.” Instead, the conference was an opportunity for an update on the scientific impacts and policy options of climate change.

He says there was a “strong desire” in New Zealand for a multi-party agreement on climate change, instead of the issue being used by political parties as an electoral football.

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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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