Cook Islands call on world leaders (again) to take action on climate

Tuesday December 03, 2019 Written by Published in Environment
Wayne King and Rima Moeka’a pictured at the UN Climate Change conference in Katowice, Poland. RNZ 19120248 Wayne King and Rima Moeka’a pictured at the UN Climate Change conference in Katowice, Poland. RNZ 19120248

The progress towards Paris agreement initiated four years ago will be the key issue in the United Nations Climate Conference in Madrid, Spain.


The two-week meeting bringing together leaders and representatives of every country started yesterday.

Wayne King, the director of Cook Islands climate office, said pressure was on world leaders to do something about the issue.

King said Pacific countries would collectively seek support from other nations on honouring to the Paris agreement.

“I think it’s more about from our perspective we are doing our part and we want to see the others do theirs,” King told RNZ.

“And for whatever reason this is a situation we found ourselves in … we are taking responsibility globally as like a collective community and we are demonstrating we are going to do our part to it but we expect others to follow.”

King said one of the key issues was having no rules around the market mechanism of the Paris agreement.

“It’s sort of like offsetting without taking any measures to reduce the carbon emission,” he explained.

“When you have bad rule it allows entities because it could be countries or companies, a free way to exploit those weaknesses and what we don’t want when we talk about reaching target is those weaknesses.

“We want to plug those gaps and the market mechanism is one of those areas where we see weakness.”

According to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, market mechanism is related to emissions trading, or cap and trade.

The countries or companies that reduce emissions below their cap have something to sell, an unused right to emit, measured in tonnes of CO2 equivalent, it said.

“Countries and companies that don’t meet their target can buy these one-tonne units to make up the shortfall. This is called emissions trading, or cap and trade. The net effect on the atmosphere is the same, provided measurements are accurate – that is, each unit represents a true one-tonne reduction below the cap – and each unit is used only once. This requires clear rules and transparency,” the United Nations said. 

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