Amsterdam, December 10, 2002 – The Canadian Parliament will vote today Tuesday on a motion to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. The government, which has been committed to ratification since Jean Chretien’s announcement at the World Summit in Johannesburg, is expected to win with a signficant majority.

The Canadian Cabinet will then confirm the decision and Environment Minister David Anderson is expected to go to New York to announce ratification officially.

“The Canadian government has overcome the best efforts of its own oil industry and joined one hundred other countries by ratifying Kyoto. This is yet another snub to the Bush administration, who arrogantly declared the treaty dead more than a year and half ago,” said Kate Hampton, climate campaigner for Friends of the Earth International.

Mexico, which has already ratified, and Canada will be parties to Kyoto as well as members of NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement) and exporters of oil and energy to the US. This shows that competitiveness concerns aired by the US are unfounded and can no longer trump action to protect the world’s climate.

The Canadian energy industry and the oil-rich Province of Alberta have been aggressively campaigning against ratification of Kyoto and have proposed White House-inspired schemes that would guarantee continued growth in greenhouse gas emissions.

However, a recent poll by the David Suzuki Foundation showed that 74% of Canadians wanted the government to meet or do more than Canada’s Kyoto target of a 6% reduction against 1990 levels by the end of this decade, which is equivalent to a 18% reduction from today’s levels.

In order for the Kyoto Protocol to become international law, countries representing 55% of industrialised country emissions must ratify the treaty.

Given that the current governments of the US and Australia are refusing to participate, entry into force is now dependent upon the ratification of Russia. President Putin’s promise to ratify was reaffirmed in Johannesburg and it is expected that the Russian parliament will pass the necessary legislation in the first half of 2003.

“It is essential that Russia now ratifies so that Kyoto can become law, paving the way for real action to implement the treaty and discussion about the tougher emissions cuts ahead,” Kate Hampton added.

Kate Hampton,
climate campaign coordinator for Friends of the Earth International
Mob: +44(0)77 4896 7323