Newsroom Pro Talks live interviews are made with the support of Spark.

WATCH: Reporting from Glasgow, Rod Oram on how NZ can recover to do better after winning a humiliating award. He talks with Newsroom Pro’s Jonathan Milne and Circularity chief executive Louise Nash

New Zealand won a Fossil award on the penultimate day of COP26, for Climate Change Minister James Shaw’s refusal to update the country’s National Determined Contribution to constraining global temperature rises.

“We nearly fell off our chair when Mr Shaw (who also chairs the transparency negotiations and is co-leader of the NZ Green Party by the way) quite literally said that just because a refreshing of the NDC has been asked of countries ‘it doesn’t mean we have to’,” opined the summit’s awards organisers, the Climate Action Network International. “This comes from a country that gives off the ‘greener than thou’ vibe at the drop of a hobbits hat.”

“There is precious little time left and we need to turn up the heat on countries not taking their domestic emissions reduction roles seriously. Lead by example Kiwis, do the right thing and stop the greenwash – and skip the spin cycle while you’re at it.”

Speaking from Glasgow on Pro Talks, Newsroom journalist Rod Oram said security staff at the summit had been asked to make themselves available for another two days, in the expectation that talks may stretch well into Sunday.


Oram said the previous COP in Madrid set a terrible precedent for extended talks – those had stretched an extra two days, in which time world leaders had actually gone backwards to end up with a less comprehensive agreement. This time, one of the work-streams is led by James Shaw, putting an onus on New Zealand to help ensure transparency around the delivery of country’s pledges.

That’s not aided by scepticism about New Zealand’s own promises, as shown by the Fossil Award and the lack of any significant New Zealand business presence at the summit. “This is limping to a close, rather than a grand finale,” Oram says. “New Zealand’s national determined contribution has been widely criticised because of some of the accounting practices we use in New Zealand, which are very rare among countries.” 

Jonathan Milne says the award is embarrassing for New Zealand, and denies Shaw any moral high ground in leading the transparency work stream.

Circular economy strategist Louise Nash says it’s a tricky time for New Zealand businesses, with supply chain problems, but some are using it an opportunity to think about how they can mine the local economy for resources instead of mining the world’s natural resources. There is an economic opportunity in a circular economy, valued at $8.8 billion for Auckland alone, for business to “get amongst it” and contribute to reducing emissions, she says.

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NZ Rugby boss Mark Robinson on Ineos, Silver Lake and cost of rugby

This is a special edition of Newsroom Pro Talks made possible by COP26 coverage partner Circularity and Pro Talks sponsor Spark.

Pro Talks is a live webinar series which looks at the crunchy part of big picture issues with the people whose decisions have a wider impact than just their own companies or enterprises. Hosted via zoom, subscribers can watch our journalists interview industry leaders live – and add their questions to the discussion. 

To get access to future Pro Talks subscribe to Newsroom Pro. Sign up before November 12 and you can save up to $91 on an annual Newsroom Pro subscription with all profits going towards funding Newsroom’s climate reporting initiatives. Sign up here.

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