Interesting to note that the NZ Government is claiming its emissions reduction target has gone down well at the UN climate talks here in Bonn.
Frankly, that's untrue.
At the beginning of day two of the negotiations, the NGOs at the talks put out their daily bulletin - ECO - with a focus on New Zealand. The newsletter is a daily tradition dating back years. It's a good light-hearted view of a deadly serious topic. The content speaks for itself.
Last night the Bonn City Council hosted a reception for those attending the negotiations. It was a nice break from the negotiations venue. The reception was held at a hall next to the Rhine. But work here never really stops – everbody there was lobbying everybody else. It was a good chance to get an informal sense of what negotiators and observers really think of NZ’s target and the conditions attached to it.
It’d be fair to say that some developed country delegates were relieved that the target wasn’t as low as they thought it was going to be. Expectations of New Zealand around here aren’t great at present. But overall I think it's seen as nothing more than a low opening offer.
I also got the impression that negotiators and observers thought New Zealand’s conditional demands were over the top.
One long-standing observer said to me, it seems that what New Zealand is doing with its demands is saying: “if the rest of the world is really nice to us and is willing to work really hard to reduce emissions, we’ll condescend to do something inadequate.”
He also noted that “Kevin Rudd got a standing ovation in Bali, New Zealand didn’t get a single clap at Bonn.” Given that Rudd’s no climate hero, that’s not very promising.
In a forum like this, countries won’t openly criticise each other. In fact they’ll go to extraordinary lengths to avoid it, but I sense there is criticism of the NZ target behind the scenes.