05 July 2009

Consult and Survive

Twelve days. That's how long the Government has allocated to the public consultation process to decide what greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for 2020 New Zealand will take to the Copenhagen climate change negotiations at the end of 2009.

There have been many international climate change negotiations down through the years, but the Copenhagen negotiations are shaping up as the most significant since the Kyoto negotiations that led to the much-debated Kyoto Protocol. The prognosis for the global climate and for sea-level rise has got much, much worse since the Kyoto Protocol was signed - but the world's knowledge of that predicament has also grown much greater.

I could write a lengthy explanation of what these consultation meetings are about, and why it's so important that many voices call for steep reductions in New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 - to be precise, a 40% reduction on 1990 levels by 2020. But Greenpeace have done that already, so, with due thanks and acknowledgement to their Sign On site, here are the key things to know about the consultation sessions, including the schedule.

From http://www.signon.org.nz/blog/government-s-copenhagen-target-consultation-starting-next-week-have-your-say:

In December governments will converge at Copenhagen aiming to reach a new climate agreement and urgent and ambitious reductions are being encouraged by climate scientists.

The Government hasn’t given the NZ people much time to have their say on this crucial issue. But we still see it as a good opportunity for people to get vocal about the target that New Zealand needs to set – 40 percent by 2020. Government Ministers will take just two weeks to visit only nine centres in New Zealand to hear what the public think, starting Monday!

We need to mobilise as many people as possible to attend the meetings and show their support for 40 by 2020 targets.

Sign On supporters will be out front of the meetings beforehand each night signing people on and also distributing stickers that people can wear into the meeting showing their support for the needed 40 percent by 2020 target.

Times and venues:

* Mon July 6 – Wellington – 7.30pm – 9pm, Oceania Room, Te Papa.
* Tues July 7 – Auckland – 7.30pm – 9pm, Princes Ballroom B and C. Hotel Hyatt Regency, Corner of Princes Street and Waterloo Quadrant, Auckland Central.
* Wed July 8 – Christchurch – 7.30pm – 9pm, Hall C, Convention Centre, Kilmore Street,
* Thur July 9 – Dunedin – 7.30pm – 9pm, Clifford Skeggs Gallery, Dunedin Centre, 1 Harrop Street, Dunedin
* Friday July 10, Queenstown – 7.30pm – 9pm, Icon Room, Heritage Hotel, 91 Fernhill Drive.
* Monday July 13 – Hamilton – 7.30pm – 9pm, Waikato Room, Sky City Hamilton, 346 Victoria Street, Hamilton
* Tuesday 14 July – New Plymouth – 7.30pm – 9pm, Conference Room Plymouth International, Corner Courtenay and Leach Streets, New Plymouth
* Wednesday 15 July – Napier - 7.30pm – 9pm, Ocean Suite East Pier, Hardinge Road Ahuriri, Napier
* Friday 17 July – Nelson – 7.30pm – 9pm, Waimea Room Rutherford Hotel, Trafalgar Square, Nelson.

The consultation won’t be the final word on the target. This is simply to find New Zealand’s opening offer at the international negotiations. Let’s make it as strong as possible. We’ll be campaigning for 40 by 2020 right up to the last second of the last day because the future of the planet isn’t up for negotiation.

Internet based consultation for those who can’t attend

You can submit questions for the Minister for Climate Change Issues' online video conference to be held from 7.30pm on Monday 20 July at www.r2.co.nz/20090720. Questions can be submitted in advance by email to 2020target(at) mfe.govt.nz

You can also email the Minister with your views to nick.smith (at) ministers.govt.nz

Tim adds: If you're not closely involved in climate change issues, the parade of meetings and negotiations can soon become mind-numbing - in fact, it confuses me, and I am involved. But this meeting, and this target, really are important. Time is running out for a liveable global climate. The Government, after initially believing it could sideline the issue, has now discovered it can't. Elements within the Government want to take meaningful action on climate change, and other elements want to block meaningful action. As many people as possible need to get along, call for deep cuts, and stiffen the Government's sinews so that it opts to become a part of the solution rather than remaining part of the problem.

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