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Climate Change and Environmental Cooperation with China

July 29, 2019

The NZ China Council and BusinessNZ together with ANZ and Waste Management hosted an address and panel discussion with the Minister for Climate Change, Hon James Shaw,  in Auckland on 19 July. 90 representatives from business and government agencies attended the event which focused on the outlook for climate change and environmental co-operation with China.

Minister Shaw visited China last year and this was followed by the signing, during the Prime Minister’s visit to Beijing in April, of a  joint statement committing both countries to working together on climate change. The Minister outlined how, by working together, New Zealand China can lead in addressing the challenges of climate change in both countries.  A panel discussion followed, focusing on the business opportunities that could flow from this co-operation.  The panel was moderated by Toby Stevenson, Director of Sapere and included Minister Shaw, PwC Sustainability Partner Annabell Chartres, Energia Potior CEO, Dr. Mark Dorreen and NZ China Council Executive Director Stephen Jacobi.

Minister Shaw spoke of the need to ensure that measures to promote trade and protect the environment went hand in hand. He saw a lot of potential in the climate change research agenda between China and New Zealand which he said was a “global point of light” in international climate change co-operation.

Referring to the work of the Global Research Alliance, of which both New Zealand and China are members, Stephen Jacobi described the need to find a technological solution for agricultural greenhouse gases as “New Zealand’s moon shot moment”.  He went on to say that “our investment in cooperation on climate change and environment demonstrates that New Zealand is committed to the bilateral relationship beyond goods trading. Mutually beneficial cooperation activities have rewards for both countries.”

In their remarks Annabel Chartres and Dr Mark Dorreen described a number of specific business opportunities that could derive from this co-operation showing that business can be fully part of the solution to the climate change challenge.

Some facts on climate change and the environmental cooperation with China are set out below:

  • New Zealand and China are joint leaders of the Nature-Based Solutions Pillar that is part of the United nations Secretary-General’s Climate Summit to take place 23 September 2019 in New York.
  • The Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA) was established by New Zealand in December 2009 and now has 57 member countries. China became a GRA member when it signed the Charter at the Ministerial Summit in Rome June 2011.
  • The joint statement released Prime Minister Ardern and Chinese Premier Li commits both countries to working together more to address the impact of climate change. It reaffirmed the leaders’ commitment to political, technical and scientific cooperation on climate change, including the ongoing productive technical exchanges on international climate change negotiations and cooperation on climate actions, the 3rd Ministerial Dialogue on Climate Change and technical discussions to be held in NZ this year, and the desire from both sides to achieve green, low-carbon and resilient societies in keeping with the collective goal of the Paris Agreement.
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