Key calls for end to fossil fuel subsidies

  • 01/12/2015
Prime Minister John Key with other world leaders during COP21 in Paris (AAP)
Prime Minister John Key with other world leaders during COP21 in Paris (AAP)

Prime Minister John Key has led a call at the Paris climate change conference for an end to inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, but Australia has baulked at backing it.

Mr Key is one of about 150 world leaders at the United Nations conference, which began on Monday with most of them making opening addresses.

Mr Key said Paris must produce a meaningful agreement.

"New Zealand wants a deal that puts the world on a pathway towards limiting global temperature rise to no more than 2C," he said.

Earlier, Mr Key presented a message to the UN from close to 40 nations calling for the removal of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies - which research suggested could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 10 percent.

Countries subsidised fossil fuels to the tune of US$500 billion ($NZ765b) in 2014, he said.

"These subsidies have the perverse effect of encouraging businesses and consumers to burn more fossil fuel and create more emissions.

"It makes no sense to be calling for emissions reductions on one hand, while subsidising emissions on the other."

It has been endorsed by countries including France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, Samoa, the United Kingdom and the US.

But Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has refused to sign the communique, blaming a "gratuitous" reference to an International Monetary Fund report which says fossil fuel prices should reflect both supply and environmental costs.

The IMF report went "much, much further" than calling for the end of inefficient subsides, he said.

"The document that our very good friend John Key has prepared contains a reference in it to an IMF report which frankly would be better if it weren't there."

Green Party MP Julie Anne Genter told the Paul Henry programme this morning she was "really encouraged" by much of what Mr Key had to say.

"Unfortunately, so far his words here have not been backed up by actual policies that will deliver the outcomes he's talking about back at home in New Zealand," she says.

"In fact, we won the Fossil of the Day Award today because of John Key's hypocrisy over the fossil fuel subsidies."

NZN / 3 News