Where are all the Kiwis at Copenhagen?

By Peter Griffin 12/12/2009 1

UPDATE: The Sunday Star Times ran a story today quoting New Zealand businesses that are disappointed they have been excluded from the official New Zealand delegation. Well that’s too bad, but why aren’t these companies involved in their own right in the discussions rather than depending on the Government to get them a seat at the table?

Every day at the Science Media Centre during COP15 we compile an alert for New Zealand journalists on the ground in Copenhagen and back here in New Zealand flagging some press conferences and events that may be be newsworthy.

Tonight, for instance, an interesting-looking session will examine the “unsustainable” consumption of meat in industrialised countries – and what governments should do about it. The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency is running that session.

Every day we do a search of the programme PDFs for reference to New Zealand and so far those searches have come up with nothing. Australia on the other hand, has been involved in numerous sessions from both a scientific and policy point of view.

So what’s the deal? We knew virtually no New Zealand scientists would be going to Copenhagen because we asked them. As far as the CRIs, dairy sector,  NGOs, companies involved in renewable energy and other organisations with an interest in the issue are concerned – we expected to see their names pop up on the programme in some capacity.

But nothing, nada, zip. Environment Minister Nick Smith gets a late night session sometime between 9pm and midnight on December 16. He’ll be the warm up act for the environment minister for the Czech Republic, Mr. Jan Dusík, who represents a country that has for its head of state, Václav Klaus, one of the most vocal critics of the idea of man-made global warming.

You’d think with reports being issued and sessions being run on everything from foodmiles and farming, to forestry and agricultural emissions, some New Zealand agency or company would be taking to the podium to contribute to the discussion. The programme however is strangely devoid of New Zealand input. We often pride ourselves for being over-represented in worthwhile global endeavours. It seems when it comes to this one, everyone decided to stay at home…

Out to lunch                              credit: Nigel Kerby AusSMC
Out to lunch... credit: Nigel Kerby AusSMC

One Response to “Where are all the Kiwis at Copenhagen?”

  • For most of the last 8 months, most casual observers have been predicting that nothing of significance would emerge, and the developed-undeveloped burden-sharing controversy would predominate.

    Most businesses, and perhaps even NZ govt representatives, would probably not want to be standing on the parapet of that battle. It’s still not clear whether any critical issues will be resolved, rather than papered over.

    In these tough times, businesses should, and appear to, focus on minimalist spending. Government agencies should also be parsimonious with our money. I’m not even certain that CRIs should be present, other than as specialist WG participants ( NZ affiliation not obvious ), because they aren’t policymakers.

    Kyoto wasn’t a spontaneous outcome, and Copenhagen may just be another paving stone on the path.
    I applaud those who found more productive things to occupy themselves.

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