Kyoto Protocol framework: EU throws down gauntlet

2011-11-28 00:00

IF the European Union (EU) is to sign up to a second commitment of the Kyoto Protocol, a framework must be put in place that gets a 100% buy-in to alleviate climate change.

This was the gauntlet thrown down by the EU yesterday on the eve of the UN climate change conference (COP17) that starts today in Durban.

“We want a framework that leads to a legally binding agreement by 2015 that would be implemented as soon as possible and by 2020 at the latest,” said Artur Runz-Metzger, the EU’s chief negotiator.

All the latest scientific data underwrites the need for strong action, said Tomasz Chruszcow, head of the Polish delegation.

Only a legally binding framework will be able to keep global warming below two degrees compared with the temperature in pre-industrial times. Scientific data indicate this may already be too late and that an average temperature rise of three to four degrees is a distinct possibility during this century.

Chruszcow said the EU is not ditching the Kyoto Protocol, which was adopted by COP3 held in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997, and which came into force in 2005.

This sets targets for 37 industrialised countries and the EU for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Chruszcow said, “We support the protocol and we are on track for its targets. The laws put in place by the EU to cut emissions by 20% by 2020 are all based on KP principles. But the problem is that the Kyoto Protocol can’t tackle the climate change we face.”

The signatories to the Kyoto Protocol only account for 25% of greenhouse gas emissions, said Runz-Metzger.

“And the EU only accounts for 11%, so 89% of emissions are outside the EU.

“Emissions in the EU have been going down since 1990, while elsewhere global emissions have been growing.”

“We need 100% coverage with a legally binding framework and not just a fraction of that.”

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