Chancellor Schröder calls for Kyoto Protocol ratification by 2002

Gerhard Schröder, Federal Chancellor of Germany has told delegates at the Fifth Conference of the Parties (COP-5) to the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) that the Kyoto Protocol should be ratified by 2002.

Speaking on the opening day of the Conference, Schröder recommended that industrialised nations begin cutting their greenhouse gas emissions by 2002 in order to reach the Kyoto Protocol targets of 5.2 per cent reductions from 1990 levels by 2008-2012.

Schröder said the Rio Summit’s vision of sustainable development had so far failed to be put into practice. He pointed to delays in the climate negotiation process, including the inability of most industrialised countries to reduce their CO2 emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000.

Schröder outlined Germany’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including its reduction target of 17% by 2005 and taxes designed to increase the cost of energy consumption.

Speaking on behalf of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, FCCC Executive Secretary Michael Zammit-Cutajar, also called for urgent action if the Kyoto commitments were to be met. Zammit-Cutajar added that the global community wished to see the Protocol ratified by 2002.

Zammit-Cutajar appealed to delegates to take into account the needs of vulnerable countries and to give financial assistance to developing countries.

Environmentalists welcomed Schröder’s call to have the Kyoto Protocol ratified by the year 2002 as a step forward for the international climate negotiations but questioned Germany’s own timetable for ratification and its commitment to reduce greenhouse gases.

“Germany must both ratify the Kyoto protocol soon and implement it,” said Greenpeace International’s political director Bill Hare. “Unfortunately there is little evidence of the German government’s commitment to meet its legal obligations under the protocol to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 21 per cent by 2010,” said Hare.

Last week Greenpeace presented a study by the Wuppertal Institute which showed that Germany will not reach this goal if current traffic growth continues.

Greenpeace called on all Ministers of Industrial countries attending the Climate convention meeting in Bonn to commit to a deadline for ratifying the Kyoto Protocol and a deadline for entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol. The deadline should be no later than the Rio+10 Summit in 2002. This would be ten years after the adoption of the Climate Convention at the Earth Summit at Rio in 1992. “Any later than this and the implementation of the protocol would be called into question,” said Hare.

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