Efforts by Canada and Australia to build consensus against further climate laws appear to be crumbling
By Ed King
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key appears to have ruled out joining an Australia and Canadian-led coalition against further climate change regulations.
Reports from Sydney this week suggest Key’s Australian counterpart Tony Abbott is trying to form a group opposed to carbon pricing and measures aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
In a statement released by his office, Key said he had not spoken to Abbott about any alliance, adding the government “takes climate change seriously”.
”That is why we were one of the first countries to introduce a comprehensive emissions trading scheme and why we’re actively involved in international climate change efforts,” it read.
Key’s comments follow those of UK energy and climate minister Greg Barker, who dismissed the idea of his government trying to dismantle its low carbon laws.
“I think you can take it the UK won’t be joining an alliance against regulation.”
Barker added Prime Minister David Cameron had spoken to Tony Abbott about his hardline stance of climate change previously, admitting there was a “difference in view”.
While Canada and Australia have aggressively attacked existing low carbon and environmental policies, New Zealand’s centre-right government has adopted a quieter strategy.
Green groups say John Key has left the country in a ‘climate change coma’, neglecting its emissions trading scheme and backing fossil fuel exploration.
Since 1990 New Zealand’s emissions have risen by 88.06%, second only to Turkey, while some believe its net greenhouse gas emissions are set to rise by 50% in the next 10 years.
Last month New Zealand courts rejected what is believed to be the world’s first case of a climate change refugee.
Ioana Teitiota – a Kiribati national – has claimed rising sea levels made it impossible for his family to live with dignity.
Last week Kiribati’s President said he had given up hope of saving the set of islands from the seas, admitting “total annihilation” is now inevitable.
“Whatever is agreed within the United States today, with China, it will not have a bearing on our future, because already, it’s too late for us. And so we are that canary,” he said.