March 23, 2001 – Today Friends of the Earth groups across Europe send the following letter to parliamentarians expressing their concern over the Kyoto Protocol process: the UN treaty on climate change.

For further information contact Roda Verheyen, FOEE climate expert: tel: 0049 179 465 2979

“Dear Parliamentarian,

On the occasion of the EU Heads of State summit in Stockholm, Friends of the Earth call on you, Parliamentarians in the national Parliaments and in the European Parliament, to help to prevent global warming. Climate change will be discussed by Heads of Governments in Stockholm. Conclusions and the follow up from Stockholm – both from the EU and national Governments – will determine the future of the Kyoto Protocol, the only instrument to tackle global climate change.

The EU must provide the political leadership to build a positive momentum towards the resumed Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention in Bonn, July 17th to 28th (COP6 bis). A successful COP6 bis would enable all Parties to ratify the protocol by Rio+10: the World Council on Sustainable Development in South Africa, 2002 – the precondition for real global action on climate change.

The current positioning of the United States administration is cause for serious concern. We are appalled by the open statement of President Bush that he opposes the Kyoto Protocol and that he believes the science of climate change to be “incomplete” [1]. We applaud the EU Presidency statement by the Swedish Minister for the Environment, Kjell Larsson, which pledged to engage the USA in an urgent dialogue towards the COPVIbis talks in Bonn. We similarly applaud all the other statements from European politicians, expressing concern over the US administration’s stance regarding the Kyoto Protocol. The current statements of the US administration give rise to doubts over whether COP6 bis will be conducted in good faith and in a constructive atmosphere to enable the adoption of such rules. A repeat of last November’s fiasco in The Hague and a further weakening the Kyoto Protocol would be morally indefensible and environmentally catastrophic.
Therefore, the EU must be prepared to show that they are willing to move the Kyoto process forward without the USA, should this be necessary.

To this end, it is vital that Europe engages with partners such as Japan, the Russian Federation, Japan, Canada, New Zealand and Norway to move towards a common agenda and procedure for the talks in July. It is also vital that Europe engage with key partners in the developing world to make sure developing country issues are tackled appropriately in Bonn. Should it become clear that some Parties are not willing to negotiate in good faith in July, the EU must call on them not to obstruct progress for all other parties.

European Parliaments have ratified the Climate Change convention of 1992 and will be asked to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. MEPs and national MPs alike have endorsed the Kyoto Protocol as global action plan to stop dangerous climate change. We therefore urge Europe’s Parliamentarians to call on their Governments to move the Kyoto process forward with all diplomatic force available – if necessary without the participation of the USA in the short term – and to call on their colleges in Parliaments around the world to work towards the same aim. The climate change talks in Bonn will be the definitive make or break test of the environmental credibility of politicians in Europe.

Thousands of people took to the streets of the Hague in November 2000 to show that they want their politicians to implement the Kyoto Protocol now. They expect Europe’s Parliamentarians, their representatives, to do what they can to ensure rules are signed in Bonn in July and the Kyoto Protocol becomes a binding international instrument for climate protection.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Martin Rocholl,
Political Director, Friends of the Earth Europe

Roda Verheyen,
Climate Change Campaigner, Friends of the Earth Europe

[1] President Bush’s letter to 4 Senators says “As you know, I oppose the Kyoto Protocol because it exempts 80 percent of the world, including major population centers [sic] such as China and India, from compliance, and would cause serious harm to the U.S. economy.”

For further information contact:
Roda Verheyen, FOE climate expert, on: 0049 179 465 2979
Howard Mollett, FoE Europe, Press & Information: 0032 2 542 01 89