Kyoto treaty against global warming comes into force

The Kyoto treaty against global warming came into force today with United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan urging the world to save the planet by adding to the limits on greenhouse gases and the UN environment chief stressing that many in the United States, the world’s top polluter, support the protocol despite the US Government’s opposition.

Under the Kyoto Protocol to the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), industrialized countries are to reduce their combined emissions of six major greenhouse gases during the five-year period from 2008 to 2012 to below1990 levels. So far 128 Member States have ratified the accord.

The European Union and Japan, for example, are to cut these emissions by 8 per cent and 6 per cent respectively. For many countries, achieving the Kyoto targets will be a major change that will require new policies and new approaches.

“By itself, the Protocol will not save humanity from the dangers of climate change,” Mr. Annan said in a video message to a celebratory ceremony in the ancient Japanese capital of Kyoto, where it was negotiated in 1997. “So let us celebrate today, but let us not be complacent.

“I call on the world community to be bold, to adhere to the Kyoto Protocol, and to act quickly in taking the next steps. There is no time to lose,” he added.

UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Klaus Toepfer took to task those who claim that the Protocol “is more dead than alive” without the United States, which accounts for about 24 per cent of global fossil fuel-related carbon dioxide emissions, about twice those of China, the world’s second largest emitter, according to figures from the US Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center.

“While the Government of the United States has decided against the Kyoto treaty, many individual states in America are adopting or planning to adopt greenhouse gas reductions in line with the spirit of the Protocol,” he said in a message.

“Many businesses there are also active and keen to join the new emission trading schemes and markets opening up. The Government itself is also promoting higher energy efficiency and alternatives like hydrogen and solar,” he added.

But he, too, echoed Mr. Annan’s call to do more. “We must act swift and sure to go beyond Kyoto,” he said. “We must put the planet on course for the up to 60 per cent cuts in greenhouse gas emissions needed to conserve the climate.”

After President George W. Bush withdrew US support for the Protocol in 2001, Russian ratification became vital for it to enter into force since 55 Parties to the UNFCCC must ratify it, including the developed countries whose combined 1990 emissions of carbon dioxide exceed 55 per cent of that group’s total. Russia, with 17 per cent, took the official step in November, pushing the amount beyond the threshold and setting the clock ticking for today’s entry into force.

Mr. Toepfer drew a “terrifying” picture of the impact of global warming drawn from recent reports, “a vision of a planet spinning out of control.”

He noted that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the scientific body which advises governments and which was established by UNEP and the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO), concluded a few years ago that global temperatures may rise by as much as 5.8 degrees centigrade by 2100 without action.

Another report, launched a few weeks ago by the International Climate Change Task Force, an alliance of three think-tanks in the US, Australia and Britain, argues that even a two degree rise could take the planet past a point of “no return,” he added.

“I certainly hope that these new calculations are proven wrong,” he said. “However, it seems that many of the past theoretical forecasts are sadly coming to pass.”

Meanwhile, the UN High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, Anwarul K. Chowdhury, pointed out the adverse effects that climate change and sea level rise present to the sustainable development of small island developing states.

“Never before has the negative impact of climate change been more evident than the recent devastating weather conditions resulting in widespread hurricanes, cyclones, tropical storms, tidal waves, tsunamis in various parts of the world, particularly affecting small island developing states. These small countries are the most vulnerable to global climate change,” he stressed.

From United Nations

1 COMMENT

  1. WHAT: Regarding Nairobi and Kyoto Protocol Future
    WHERE: The ARK in BEREA
    519 Karen Dr.
    Berea, Ohio 44017

    WHEN: 7 PM on November 14, 2006

    GUEST SPEAKERS:
    David Jakupca, ICEA CEO
    Beth Pasek, Editor Daily Environmentalist

    Open to the Public
    Free Admission
    Contact: Call ICEA 440-891-8376 For More Details

    As the international community meets this week in Nairobi, Kenya to formulate international climate policy, you can depend upon the International Center for Environmental Arts (ICEA) to support the Kyoto process as an established mechanism to reduce emissions that can be tightened and expanded, rather than restarting international negotiations from scratch. Clearly India and China must enter the emissions caps, though just as clearly they and other developing countries should be allowed to emit more per capita then rich countries. Climate change will be averted or minimized only by dramatic emissions reductions, rapid embrace of renewable energy, an end to ancient forest deforestation and diminishment, and an embrace of energy conservation and efficiency. As individuals we must do what we can to achieve these goals, while leading our leaders to establish societal constraints that make living green more easy. Meanwhile, lets hope for enlightened global governance from Nairobi. International action, with agreed upon limits for ghg emissions, are essential for success. Right now, a lot is riding on the efforts of the developed countries that are participating in Kyoto to show they can successful in meeting their targets.

    In the United States we must take advantage of the new political landscape to put comprehensive and ambitious federal climate change legislation on the national agenda.

    ADDRESS:
    International Center for Environmental Arts (ICEA)
    P. O. Box 81496
    Cleveland, Ohio 44181 USA
    Phone/fax: 440-891-8376
    Email: [email protected]
    http://www.TheICEA.Org
    BACKGROUND:
    The International Center for Environmental Arts (ICEA) is a force for socially responsible activity. ICEA’s mission is to “Assist in understanding of the relationship between Humans and their Environment through the Arts”. ICEA was founded by David and Renate Jakupca in 1987 to meet the compelling needs of ordinary citizens for access to current, balanced, understandable information about complex global issues. Over the years, ICEA has gained a reputation for excellence based upon a unique library of specialized, current information on global importance and a wide range of imaginative programming and collaborations with other organizations to meet the needs of a broad constituency. With affiliates across the globe, ICEA supports research, information sharing and effective action promoting a sustainable Culture of Peace.

    The historic ARK in Berea, is the first structure in Cuyahoga County to incorporate sustainable building concepts from the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, it inaugurated the green building trend that is now sweeping America. The Ark in Berea is the home and studio of American Cultural Ambassadors David and Renate Jakupca and is also a museum, community center, and art gallery. The ARK in Berea is the home of the Environmental Art Movement.

    SERVICES PROVIDED:
    ICEA is a place where people are encouraged to develop their own unique individual skills and talents for themselves, their community, nation and the world. The center provides a healthy holistic environment to aid people in their social, emotional, physical, intellectual, spiritual as well as artistic growth.
    Sustainable business leadership training programs are available to corporate and community organizations. Consultants and Speakers are available for all topics relating to the Humanities, Arts, and the Environment.
    Annual Ongoing Projects are:
    Ohio COASTWEEKS Childrens Arts and Essay Contest
    World Childrens Peace Movement

    VOLUNTEER NEEDS:
    Volunteers are welcome for specific projects and committees. Training is provided.

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