Kyoto the way to combat climate change
On the eve of the first anniversary of the Kyoto Protocol’s entry into force, the Greens today (15 February) launched a Joint European Climate Change Campaign in Strasbourg and stressed that Kyoto is the way forward in the fight against climate change.
The campaign was launched by the Greens in the European Parliament today, with the presentation of a new climate change website and a symbolic mobilisation of support in the courtyard of the Parliament building in Strasbourg. The campaign will be brought to citizens and politicians across Europe tomorrow (16 February), as Green party activists from 18 Green parties will seek to highlight the urgency of the issue of climate change.
At the press conference for the launch of the Climate Change Campaign, Green MEPs Claude Turmes (Luxembourg), Rebecca Harms (Germany) and Satu Hassi (Finland) and the General Secretary of the European Green Party, Arnold Cassola, said:
“The year 2005 was the warmest year on record. This and other recent evidence adds further weight to the scientific consensus that global climate change is accelerating and that the consequences – such as the melting of the ice caps, rising sea level, drought, shortage of freshwater, floods, storms, the loss of animal species and the spread of disease – will be dramatic unless the human race responds rapidly to the crisis.
“Kyoto is alive and functioning, as demonstrated by the climate change conference in Montreal in December. Kyoto was a major diplomatic success for the Prodi Commission and EU Member States. It was a victory for a binding multilateral international agreement over the ineffective bilateral approach promoted by the US. The European Union should be proud of Kyoto but we must remember that it is only the first step. The EU has a responsibility to take the lead in defining the next steps to combat climate change globally.
“2006 will be an important year for internal EU climate protection. In order to be credible in the fulfilment of our targets and to show the world that stopping climate change can be achieved, the European Commission has to come up with new EU-level proposals under the European Climate Change Programme 2 (ECCP 2). In addition, all 25 Member State governments will have to propose their 2nd national CO2 allocation plans, which should be in line with our Kyoto commitments.
“Meeting of EU Kyoto targets is crucial for the credibility of international climate policy. For this both the Commission and the Member States have to deliver. The EU must retake the lead in driving forward international climate change negotiations
“With the Bush administration continually trying to undermine the Kyoto Protocol the EU will have to stand strong if it is to achieve the goal of launching a new stage for global climate policy commitments for the period after 2012, which are in line with staying below +2 warming compared to pre-industrialised levels. The EU must set out a clear agenda for the post-2012 period, including concrete targets. EU Heads of State must this year reach an agreement on the 2020 and 2050 emissions reduction targets of 30% and 80% respectively. The EU is the global leader in using modern cleaner energy technology. We must make sure that we stay that way and are not taken over by the US in developing new climate friendly technology. Therefore Europe needs to allocate enough money for research and development of renewable energy technologies as well as energy efficiency.
“The US is far behind the EU in terms of sustainable energy and transport policies. The EU should build on its expertise in this field and launch its own sustainable technology partnership with developing countries (like China, India and Brazil) in those areas where the EU clearly has the lead: energy efficiency, renewable energies and transport policies. We are proud of our environmental achievements and should build on them.”