COP21: Key government adopts 1.5-degree temperature limit in Paris Climate Talks

NZYD seeks immediate ban on further oil, gas and coal reserves exploration
By @vitthernandez on
John Kerry & Ban Ki-Moon
US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (R) meet on the sidelines of the COP 21 United Nations conference on climate change in Le Bourget, on the outskirts of Paris, France December 11, 2015. Reuters/Mandel Ngan/Pool

The New Zealand government has given in to pressure from various groups to join the High Ambition Coalition. This is the group of countries that are not satisfied with the 2-degreeC target and wants it lowered to 1.5C.

Wellington’s move follows the footstep of fellow Oceania country Australia which also aligned with the High Ambition Coalition. What changed the mind of Prime Minister John Key and outgoing Climate Change Minister Tim Groser is the unexpected support of US State Secretary John Kerry for the coalition, reports TVNZ.

While Groser admits that 1.5C appears to be unachievable, “Since it’s obviously so important to Pacific Island countries (some of which face possible inundation as sea levels arise), we’ve said ‘OK.’” He concedes that while professional negotiators think New Zealand has made a huge contribution of a minus 30 percent on a 2005 base, “if you ask youth groups and green groups, you’ll get a different answer,” quotes NZHerald.

With this development, the New Zealand Youth Delegation (NZYD) called on Wellington for an immediate ban on further exploration for oil, gas and coal reserves in New Zealand and a just, urgent transition out of the fossil fuel industry in New Zealand. NZYD hosted an action earlier on Friday in front of the COP21 Eiffel Tower where young New Zealanders held messages and banners calling on the New Zealand government to end all fossil fuel exploration and transition out of fossil fuel energy in New Zealand.

New Zealand Youth Delegation The New Zealand Youth Delegation (NZYD) called on Wellington for an immediate ban on further exploration for oil, gas and coal reserves in New Zealand and a just, urgent transition out of the fossil fuel industry in New Zealand.  Facebook/NZYD/Renee Rose Annan

“We are ecstatic that our Government has listened to voices like ours. If New Zealand wants to meet our commitment for a 1.5 limit, we need a just and urgent transition away from our remaining dirty energy sources and a moratorium on further exploration. Let’s keep it in the ground to protect our Pacific neighbours and New Zealand from climate change impacts such as dangerous sea level rises. Let’s keep it in the ground so we have a chance of meeting our ambitious target.” said NZYD spokesperson Renee Annan.

“Our win on the 1.5 degree issue shows the power of young people rising up to take action. It’s urgent we keep up the pressure since our government is trying to keep us in the dark ages of the fossil fuel industry through huge handouts to big oil, and by stacking the deck against renewables,” Annan adds.

According to the New York Times, the possible final draft of the global climate accord would likely be presented on Saturday for a last round of debate. The draft was completed after late-night negotiations and is undergoing translation from English into five other official UN languages.

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