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Environmental Protection & Preservation

Press Briefing From the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman on: Climate Change and Other Business

The Prime Minister Official Spokesman (PMOS) previewed the Prime Minister's speech on Climate change later. He said that in terms of climate change, the Prime Minister would address the climate change conference which was being held in Wellington and he would join it via videolink at 9.00 New Zealand time tomorrow morning, which was 10.00 tonight in London.

The basic message, and this was if you like what united both John Howard and himself today, was that the way to deal with climate change was through developing the technology. Now for some people the need to deal with climate change was because of the environment's degradation and we very clearly believed in the science, for others the primary motive was energy security. Whatever perspective you took, the solution was developing the technology and giving the private sector the certainty and the confidence it needed to invest in developing that technology as quickly as possible. That was why tomorrow morning he would say in Auckland that we couldn't afford to wait the five years Kyoto took to negotiate, we couldn't afford that period of time because time was running out for the planet, and also because of the energy supply issue. The Prime Minister would say that we needed to make progress in 2006, that we couldn't afford to stand still after the progress that was made last year, and we needed to make progress to agree a future framework for when Kyoto ends in 2012, a framework that included China, India, the US and others who were not part of Kyoto.

The key point was that at the heart of that framework must be a goal to stabilise both temperature and concentrations of greenhouse gas emissions. We needed a technology revolution to do that, which he believed would be comparable with the internet, and again the key was a goal which would give business the confidence and the certainty it needs to invest in cleaner technology and reduce emissions.

This year the Prime Minister intended using the G8 meeting in St Petersburg in July, where energy is going to be a key issue, as identified by the Russians already, the Gleneagles dialogue in Mexico in September, which is the follow-up to our Gleneagles agreement on climate change, and the EU to drive this forward.

The PMOS gave some context around the publication of the review today. He said that the UK record on climate change was unmatched. The measures we announced today would mean that we would go significantly beyond our Kyoto target. The Kyoto target was 12.5%, and we were going to get to 23 - 25% cuts in emissions by 2012, in effect we are doing twice as much as required under Kyoto.

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