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NZ ratifies climate change agreement

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 4/10/2016

New Zealand has ratified the ground-breaking Paris Agreement on climate change.

The agreement covers more than 90 per cent of the world's emissions with 188 countries taking part in the negotiations held in France in December last year.

New Zealand signed the document which has the aim of keeping global temperature rise well below 2C .

Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett said the ratification demonstrated New Zealand's commitment to global action on climate change.

"Although New Zealand contributes only a small proportion of global greenhouse gas emissions, the early timing of our ratification enables us to join the group of countries that make up 55 per cent of global emissions - the minimum needed to get this agreement across the line. Our contribution counts."

New Zealand has pledged to reduce emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

The Greens welcomed ratification but said it was just the starting gun.

"We're pleased the government has acted swiftly but the real challenge starts now: to reverse the massive rise in carbon emissions that has occurred in New Zealand over the past two decades," said co-leader James Shaw.

"National needs to re-think its economic strategy - carbon emissions have increased 19 per cent under this government and they're still talking about expanding pollution-intensive industries like oil, gas and intensive dairy farming."

BusinessNZ says early ratification puts New Zealand in a good negotiating position for future UN climate change decision-making.

"New Zealand's emissions profile is different from other countries," said environment policy manager John Carnegie.

"Our continuing need is to maintain the competitiveness of New Zealand businesses while meeting our emissions reduction targets."

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