COP21: Youth Delegation accuses Wellington of pulling wool over eyes of NZ, international community

By @vitthernandez on
COP21 Action by NZYD
A young man from the New Zealand Youth Delegation pranced around as a sheep to emphasise their group’s accusation that the country’s government is allegedly pulling the wool over their eyes when it comes to climate change action. New Zealand Youth Delegation

A young man from the New Zealand Youth Delegation pranced around as a sheep to emphasise their group’s accusation that the country’s government is allegedly pulling the wool over their eyes when it comes to climate change action. At the same time, the other youth delegates, acting as official delegates to COP21, handed out a satirical policy document.

Titled "Pull the Wool," the document accuses Wellington of having self-serving tactics, particularly using creative accounting practices and rorting of Land Use, Land Use Change, and Forestry (LULUCF) mechanisms. The delegation points out that “none of the $200 million over four years promised in aid as climate finance to our pacific neighbours is new funding.”

The New Zealand government reallocated $50 million as aid to the Pacific islands and help protect these tiny nations from the impact of global warming. But given that the cost of damage by Cyclone Pam to Vanuatu in early 2015 is almost $500 million, the $50 million help “is a laughable attempt to look like we’re helping.”

“If New Zealand really wanted to work alongside our neighbours to protect the Pacific, we would stop trying to pull the wool in the Paris Climate Talks through climate accounting,” Natalie Jones, spokesperson of the youth delegation, said in a statement. The document points out that rather than compare New Zealand’s current total emissions against a comparable baseline, Wellington uses gross-net accounting.

Pull the Wool Document Members of the NZYD with a copy of "Pull the Wool," the document that accuses Wellington of having self-serving tactics, particularly using creative accounting practices and rorting of LULUCF mechanisms.  New Zealand Youth Delegation

That involves using the gross baseline as total emissions and judging the country’s performance to reduce carbon emissions on net emissions to include offset measures such as tree planting. The effect of that is the country’s books would always look green, especially “given how easy it is to fudge offset measures.”

The youth delegation is pushing for the national government to work harder in future proofing the Pacific by adopting a more ambitious target in its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) by a bigger hike in its climate aid budget. They expressed concern over the weak ambitions of New Zealand and other nations on their climate pledges and support the Manila Declaration on Nov 30 that found the current long-term temperature goal of holding global warming below 2 degrees Celsius and pushed to lower it to 1.5 degrees.

According to the country’s Ministry for the Environment, Wellington announced in July that its post-2020 climate change target is to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. But it is provisional until a new international agreement, which is the objective of COP21, is ratified. With its current target of 5 percent below 1990 level by 2020, the new target is equivalent to 11 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, the ministry says.

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