New Zealand has told the international climate change talks in Mexico that unless changes are made to the rules on forestry, it cannot commit to reducing emissions.

The Minister for Climate Change Issues, Nick Smith, revealed the government’s stance at the United Nations conference in Cancun.

Nick Smith is calling for changes to forestry rules in any future international deal on emissions.
New Zealand’s commitment on climate change is to cut emissions at 1990 levels by 10 to 20% by 2020.

But Dr Smith says that will not stand unless New Zealand can get changes to rules on forestry in any future international agreement on emissions.

He says it must be recognised that not all the carbon from a tree is necessarily released when it is cut down, such as when it is made into building timber which is used instead of other high emission products.

“In fact, if the trees are produced into wood products that are used to replace concrete instead of buildings, there’s a substantive ongoing climate change benefit of that carbon stored.”