Highlighting a rift between the rich countries and emerging economies such as China, New Zealand’s climate minister staunchly defended his government’s decision to drop out of the emissions pact for developed nations, saying it’s an outdated and insufficient response to global warming.
Other key issues at the conference, now starting its second week, include how to help emerging nations switch to climate-friendly energy sources and charting the course for a new treaty that would replace the Kyoto Protocol, which covers only developed countries.
New Zealand announced before the U.N.’s climate talks started here last week that it would not take part in the second phase of the Kyoto treaty. That angered climate activists and stunned small neighboring island nations, who fear they could be submerged by rising sea levels spurred by global warming.
Climate Minister Tim Groser told The Associated Press on Sunday that New Zealand is “ahead of the curve” by shifting its attention from the 1997 Kyoto deal to a new global climate pact that also would include developing nations.
The U.S. never ratified Kyoto, which expires this year, partly because it did not impose limits on China and other emerging economies.
Australia and European countries want to extend the pact at the current conference in Doha until a wider treaty comes into force. That is not scheduled to happen until 2020.
Groser didn’t see a point in that, because those countries together represent less than 15 percent of global emissions.