Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Guest Opinion: Kyoto Dead… Don’t Hold Your Breath!

Kyoto Dead… Don’t Hold Your Breath!


by Vanessa Atkinson

In the past ten years, it has been almost impossible to count the number of times that the Kyoto Protocol has been declared ‘dead’.

The international agreement to address climate change by cutting greenhouse gas emissions – which is still waiting to come into force - has endured years of premature obituaries. This is mainly thanks to the obstructionist efforts of the USA - which point blank refuses to ratify the agreement but insists on interfering in talks – and the coyness of Russia – which has consistently promised its intention to ratify, but has frustratingly delayed actually doing so.

The first time it was being prematurely buried was just before the Kyoto meeting in 1997 when many observers predicted that big polluters such as Russia, Canada, the USA and others, would never agree to sign up to an agreement to reduce greenhouse emissions. In the end, Kyoto was adopted and a global agreement for an average of a 5% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions was reached. Then in The Hague in 2000, negotiations on how to achieve this reduction collapsed. The same observers said “That’s it. Game over.”

About four months later, The US President, Mr Bush, decided to pull out of the agreement – apparently at the insistence of the oil industry, led by Mr Bush’s pals at Exxon. Again the nay-sayers were reading eulogies for the Kyoto Protocol. Yet, in July 2001 the nations gathering at next round of negotiations decided that the planet just couldn’t afford to wait for Mr Bush to come to his senses and decided to move ahead without the USA. The Protocol can still come into force without the USA, but requires Russia to be on board to reach the global target of 55 countries representing 55% of industrialised countries’1990 emissions.

This week a minor media frenzy has been generated by a Russian bureaucrat, Andrei Illarionov, who is an economic advisor to the Kremlin, saying that “Russia would not ratify the Protocol in its current form” and that it was “impossible for Russia to consider undertaking responsibilities that place serious limits on the country’s growth. ”

Few media outlets took the time to verify whether or not Mr Illarionov was speaking on behalf of his boss. Those that did reported that “the Russian government does not yet have a clear position on the Kyoto Protocol.”

In fact, in the past two months President Putin has told three different heads of State that Russia would ratify. He confirmed Russia’s intention of ratifying to the Canadian and Japanese Prime Ministers, Mr Chrétien and Mr Koizumi during the Asia-Pacific Summit and repeated this affirmation to the Italian President, Mr Berlusconi, during the E.U.-Russia summit two weeks ago in Rome.

It comes down to either believing the Russian President, who has the authority to speak for his government and its intentions, or a bureaucrat, who does not. The current round of Kyoto negotiations are happening now in Milan and key nations – in this instance Russia - are playing politics with the climate, yet again.

The Kyoto Protocol is the only international framework to address climate change. The science is clear. Human activities are changing the global climate system in dangerous ways. Glaciers are disappearing, vector borne diseases are spreading, global average temperatures are going up, sea levels are rising, polar regions are melting. Scientists warn that the magnitude of the problem is only gradually being understood and it’s much worse than originally thought. Globally we cannot afford to play politics with the only international agreement to address climate change.

Voices claiming that the Kyoto Protocol is dead are calling the score before the end of the game – and claiming victory for the wrong team. Kyoto is not dead. And we can’t allow it to be killed if we want to protect the planet.

-----------------------------

- Vanessa Atkinson is a Climate Change campaigner Greenpeace Aotearoa/New Zealand At the COP9 negotiations in Milan December 4, 2003. Contact Vanessa Atkinson on +64 215 65 165 or Louise Fraser on +61 409 993 568 for verification or interview.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news