Kyoto still afloat – but it’s taken on water
July 23, 2001 – The Kyoto Protocol has survived the best efforts of George W Bush and the US administration to kill it off. But obstructive behaviour by members of the Umbrella Group has forced Mr Pronk and countries supporting the Protocol to water it down substantially. Forest “sinks” at home and in developing countries, emissions trading and other provisions threaten to allow industrialized countries to minimize domestic action to cut greenhouse gases. And implementation of the compliance system has been partly delayed after disgraceful pressure from Japan in particular.
Environmental campaigners will be demanding early ratification of Kyoto. But they will then be campaigning to ensure that governments treat the Protocol as only a first step towards tackling man-made climate change, and that they do not use the loopholes in the Bonn deal to avoid action at home. They will also be demanding that compliance rules are introduced quickly and ensure that the Protocol is a properly enforceable and effective international agreement.
Friends of the Earth International Climate Campaigner Kate Hampton commented: “The Kyoto Protocol is still alive. That in itself is a triumph for citizens all over the world who have campaigned so hard for governments to act to tackle dangerous climate change. It is also a political disaster for President Bush, who with the arrogance of power thought that his decision to renege on Kyoto would be enough to kill it.
But the price of success has been high. The Protocol has been heavily diluted. Its effect on the climate has been massively eroded. This is not an academic question of tonnages and percentage points. Each move away from action will bring further misery and destruction to communities across the world. We leave here with new hope for the future. But we warn the world’s governments: this is only a small step forward. You have a very long way to go.”
The mood in the conference centre is euphoric, but now the real work on ratification and implementation must begin.
Kate Hampton 00 44 7748 967 323
Roda Verheyen 0179 465 2979
Ian Willmore (Media) 00 44 7887 641 344
Howard Mollett (Media) 00 41-792 160 206
Eugene van Haaren (Dutch media) 00 31-6-2959 3873