European Commission stands behind the Kyoto Protocol
Press release DN: IP/03/1747 Brussels, 16 December 2003
European Commission stands behind the Kyoto Protocol
The European Commission continues to support the Kyoto Protocol as the only international framework to combat climate change. The President of the Commission Romano Prodi said in Strasbourg on Tuesday: “The Commission firmly supports the Kyoto Protocol and its full implementation by the EU. We are not changing our position or going back on the targets that we have agreed. The recent climate change conference in Milan confirmed the strong international support for the Kyoto Protocol. We are confident that Russia will ratify the Protocol so that it can enter into force.”
The Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was ratified by the European Union and its Member States on 31 May
2002. In the meantime 120 Parties have ratified representing two-thirds of the world’s population. Under the rules of the Protocol and following the decision by the United States not to ratify, the Protocol will enter into force once Russia has ratified. The Kyoto Protocol commits the EU to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 8 per cent between 1990 and
2008-2012. Under its internal “burden-sharing” agreement, that became legally binding for the Member States when the EU decided to ratify the Kyoto Protocol (Council Decision 2002/358/EC of 25 April 2002), each Member State has accepted a target for limiting or reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.
The EU as well as the Member States have already taken significant measures to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases. Between 1990 and 2001, EU greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 2.3 percent, although emissions increased both in 2000 and 2001 and projections show that further emission reduction measures will be required to allow the EU to reach its 8 per cent emission reduction target. Measures taken by the EU to reduce greenhouse gas emissions include the promotion of electricity from renewables and of biofuels, increased energy-efficiency of buildings and passenger cars and emissions trading between large industrial installations.
The 9th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was held in Milan on 1 12 December 2003 marking another step in the international climate change process. It reached agreement on a number of further operational rules for implementing the Kyoto Protocol and on further work. It confirmed that measures are taken world-wide to implement the Kyoto Protocol.
Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström said: “If we want to tackle climate change there is no alternative to the Kyoto Protocol. It is an ingenious treaty because it allows all countries to participate in the fight against climate change according to their economic potential. It provides for cost-effective ways for reducing emissions and international technology transfer. And it includes strong rules for monitoring and enforcing compliance. If we were to go back to the drawing
board to negotiate another treaty we would loose five or ten years at least. But climate change doesn’t go away.” She added: “At the EU level we have put into place measures that will reduce emissions at least cost to our economy. From our analyses we know that we can meet our Kyoto obligations without harming our economy.”
Commission re-affirms commitment to Kyoto policy EurActiv, Brussels Date: 17/12/2003 08:30
The Commission has restated its belief that there is no alternative to the Kyoto Protocol, contradicting Energy Commissioner de Palacio who expressed doubts about its fate a day earlier.
Background: On 15 December, the Energy Council had a discussion on the outcome of the COP 9 Conference on climate change in Milan. The Italian minister for Production, Antonio Marzano, expressed concerns over the effects of the Kyoto commitments on the EU economy’s competitiveness. Energy Commissioner Loyola de Palacio openly questioned whether the EU should stick to Kyoto if Russia in the end decided not to ratify. Several press commentators interpreted these remarks as a first indication that the EU would change its stance on Kyoto.
Issues: The press release issued by the Commission on 16 December re-iterates all the arguments for the EU’s commitment to the Kyoto Protocol. It highlights the fact that the COP 9 conference “confirmed the strong international support for the Kyoto Protocol”. The Commission is confident “that Russia will ratify the Protocol so that it can enter into force”.
Positions: During their Summit in Brussels last weekend, some Member States
(especially Spain and Italy) also pushed for a review of the costs of complying with the Kyoto Protocol in relation to the competitiveness of the European economy. In the Presidency’s conclusions for the Summit, it reads “further cost-effective ways of implementing EU decisions in the field of climate change and the potential cost of inaction should be considered.”
Environment NGO WWF questioned Commissioner de Palacio’s integrity in a press release on 16 December. “Commissioner de Palacio is torpedoing the EU’s efforts to keep Kyoto alive. Her comments were inaccurate and irresponsible,” said Dr Stephan Singer, head of WWF’s Climate and Energy Policy Unit “It is not the first time that she is actively and deliberately undermining climate policies within the EU.”
The Environment Council on 22 December will discuss the outcome of the COP 9 Conference in Milan.
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COP9 meeting slammed by NGO
Green Consumer Guide. UK Environmental, ethical, sustainable – products, services and news
Wednesday 17 December 2003
The recent UN Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting in Milan
(COP9) has been criticised as a ‘talkfest’ by the International Policy Network.
The group has also called the value of COP meetings and the
role of the UNFCCC into question, claiming that neither is cost-effective or productive.
Julian Morris, of IPN said; “Frankly, these COP talkfests have been largely counterproductive. They have not sought to identify and implement the most cost-effective ways to achieve the goals of the Framework Convention on Climate Change. We know these exist and have been documented. It is incumbent on ministers and parties to identify these more cost-effective solutions before the next COP.
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