Kyoto Protocol to protect the climate alive and kicking

Press release - 1 December, 2003
As nations from around the world gather in Milan for the next round of the Kyoto Protocol talks, environmental groups confirmed that the multilateral effort to combat climate change was alive and kicking, despite the efforts of the Bush Administration to kill it.

One hundred and twenty countries have ratified the Protocol and many are already implementing measures to curb greenhouse gas emissions, despite the fact that the Protocol has not yet become international law, said The Climate Action Network in Milan. This will happen when Russia ratifies - a move expected to come after the Russian presidential elections in early 2004.

"Russian business, politicians, and civil society are all supportive of the Kyoto Protocol, and we are confident that Russia will ratify soon," said Jennifer Morgan, director of the WWF climate change program. "White House delegates are coming to Milan to undermine this treaty, even though President Bush pledged not to block other countries from moving forward. The Bush team must be ignored - the governments that want to save the climate have their work cut out for them."

The proof of the Bush regime's lack of commitment to tackling climate change is evident by its actions, said Jeff Fiedler, of the Natural Resources Defence Council. "The White House is pretending its talk about science and technology is serious, but at home and abroad it opposes any actions to reduce emissions now."

"In the rich countries there are still mercenary professionals paid to put loopholes into the Climate Treaty, while the developing world is forced to deal with the impacts of climate change," said Richard Worthington, of Earthlife Africa Johannesburg. "Any discussions of bilateral agreements are inappropriate at this meeting and must be sidelined. The problem is global and must be addressed at a global level."

"We can't afford to wait any longer," said Steven Guilbeault, of Greenpeace International. "The impacts of climate change are already affecting the lives of millions of people, in the form of the spread of vector borne diseases to new regions, sea level rise, increased desertification, water resource shortages and more extreme weather events. Ministers at this meeting must speed up the process and make sure that practical measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are put in place."

The Climate Action Network is a world-wide network of over 340 non-governmental organisations working to promote goverment and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels.