US climate criminals descend on talks

New Delhi negotiations must push Kyoto Protocol forward

Feature story - 30 October, 2002
They're back! Last year the Bush-led US government walked away from the Kyoto Protocol. As a result, it took heroic efforts by other countries to salvage this world-wide effort to address climate change. But after their dramatic exit from the Protocol, what are the Americans doing in New Delhi now as negotiations continue?

Demonstration in streets of New Delhi during COP8 climate change negotiations.

"It seems they are only here to sabotage, obstruct, weaken and delay proceedings," said Greenpeace campaigner Steve Sawyer, speaking from New Delhi. "They don't care about climate change, they don't care about the poor who are the first and hardest hit; they only care about the bottom line of their fossil fuel pals like Exxon and Enron."

"American Climate Criminals in Town" was the message on the Greenpeace banner hung at the hotel housing the US delegation. If the US will not ratify the Kyoto Protocol, it is outrageous for them to send a team to influence the talks at COP8 (the 8th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change)

The ten-day conference focuses on the final adoption and implementation of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.

"Progress has been frustratingly slow on the detailed issues here in Delhi because of the usual sabotage from the usual suspects and a lack of political will from the rest," said Sawyer. The US abandoned the Kyoto Protocol in June, 2001. It was the first time the country, the world's greatest polluter and home to the world's largest oil companies, had walked away from and international environmental agreement.

It's time for ministers at the climate talks to get serious. COP8 must not be remembered as the place where American, Australian and Saudi efforts to unravel the Kyoto Protocol gained a foothold.

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