Gothenburg, June 26, 2001 – Key environment ministers will gather in Kurhaus, Scheveningen (near The Hague), in the Netherlands on Wednesday 27 and Thursday 28 June to discuss the latest proposal on the Kyoto Protocol from Jan Pronk, the current President of the UN climate conference.

Following the rejection of the Kyoto Protocol by the United States earlier this month, the latest Pronk proposal is designed to keep other big polluters on board, particularly Japan and Russia. The Kyoto Protocol cannot enter into force without these countries, even though European heads of government agreed to push ahead without the US at their recent summit in Gothenburg.

The discussions will deal with substantive issues – such as finance for technology transfer, sinks and emissions trading – but will doubtlessly touch on the ongoing political reality of US withdrawal and inaction. This is the last major multilateral meeting on climate change before the resumption of COP6 in Bonn next month.

Kate Hampton, Climate Campaigner for Friends of the Earth International said: “This meeting must close loopholes that would undermine the Protocol’s environmental effectiveness. The EU has agreed to ratify without the US, so all eyes are now on Japan. There’s no alternative and no time to waste.”

Ricardo Navarro, Chair of Friends of the Earth International said: “Those least responsible for causing climate change will suffer its worst effects. The lifebuoy is a symbol of hope. Governments must take action by rescuing the Protocol from the hands of Texas oil men.”
Photo opportunites:

1) Presentation of lifebuoy to Minister Pronk on Wednesday 27 June at 1pm in front of the Kurhaus (Geyvers Deynootplein 30, Scheveningen) Friends of the Earth will present Pronk with a buoy and call on him and the ministers present to reach an agreement that will actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
2) Activists in oilskins on Thursday 28 June from 5 pm onwards in front of the Kurhaus until the end of the official press conference (Geyvers Deynootplein 30, Scheveningen) Friends of the Earth will also be present at the end of the two-day meeting on June 28 with 20 activists wearing yellow oilskins and equipped with lifebuoys and foghorns.

Ilse Chang (Action Coordinator/Netherlands) +31 6 2959 3876 (mob)
Kate Hampton (In London) +44 207 566 1723
+ 44 774 896 7323(mob)
Press Office + 44 207 566 1649