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You are here: Home / Media / Archive / 2000 / 25_nov_koyoto_climate


25 november 2000

kyoto climate treaty ends in shame

Yesterday, representatives from several FoE European groups, including Scotland, France, Germany, England, Ireland, Spain and Italy, stormed the Delegates Hall at the climate conference in The Hague. The environmental NGO campaigners brought 15 sandbags from the dike constructed by FoE around the conference center last Saturday to give to the 15 European Environment Ministers in a call for serious action.

Tragically the efforts of the EU to stand up for the Protocol's environmental integrity and the work of the Chair, Dutch Environment Minister Jan Pronk, found no compromise with the demands of the USA and other countries in the so-called Umbrella group (including Japan, Australia and Canada). These countries want to avoid making any reductions in their use of fossil fuels and push to include a range of loopholes and get-out clauses in the "Flexibility Mechanisms" annex to the Treaty.

A review of the following key issues outlines what would have been the consequences of ceding to the US position:

- Greenhouse gas emissions to rise by the end of the first commitment period (2008-2012): Even with strict adherence to the Treaty as it now stands, emissions are permitted to rise by more than 5%. This is the exact opposite of the whole point of the Kyoto Treaty which set a world reduction target of 5.2%.

- Forest and agricultural land-use management instead of real reduction of carbon emissions: The US will get at least 50 million tons of credits for their forests, without doing any work to address the real problems of their fossil fuel industries.

- The "Flexibility Mechanisms" & Credits towards reduction targets for projects in other countries, without any work done at home: The EU had originally proposed a  positive list‘ of sustainable energy projects, such as renewables and energy efficiency. However the US pushed for droping any ecological criteria.

- A giant market in hot air trading was promoted over the real work of making domestic CO2 reductions, to be exploited for profit by multinational companies like DuPont and Texaco, responsible for pollution from fossil fuels in the first place.

Commenting, FOEI Climate Campaigner Frances MacGuire said:
"Because of the destructive demands of the Umbrella Group countries, in particular the US, the Kyoto Treaty became less an agreement on the environment than a squalid deal on international trade. The very countries and companies which created the disaster of man-made climate change are now manoeuvred to profit from it, and in doing so wrecked the hope of any agreement. Many people will pay with their lives, homes and jobs for this failure".

Martin Rocholl, Political Director of Friends of the Earth Europe stated:
"It is now up to the countries of the European Union to push forward with the innovation and political leadership involved in reforming our energy, transport and trade policies in the direction of a sustainable development. Let us be the first to show the United States, and other countries in the pockets of the dinosaur fossil fuel industries, how we can profit and safeguard the environment at the same time."

Contact Roda Verheyen, FoE climate team : 0044 7712 843216
Contact Martin Rocholl, FoEE : 0032 2 542 01 80





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