Vodka today for Monday we go to work on the climate

Press release - 22 October, 2004
In a long awaited and much heralded move, the Russian Parliament, the Duma, voted today to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Russian ratification pushes this global climate protection agreement over the threshold required to become international law.

"We will look back on today as the moment in history when humanity faced up to its responsibility. The fossil-fuel powered industrial revolution of the 20th century has had a calamitous impact on our planet. We must work for a clean energy revolution of equal magnitude in the 21st century," said Greenpeace climate policy advisor Steve Sawyer.

Greenpeace welcomed the inevitable entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol, but following more than a century of loading the atmosphere with polluting greenhouse gasses, acknowledged that the emissions reductions in the treaty were only a start.

"We'll toast the Duma with vodka tonight, but on Monday morning we need to roll up our sleeves and get down to the real work. We must build on the Kyoto Protocol, and seek agreement for the much deeper emissions reductions required to put us on a path towards a real solution to the threat of dangerous climate change," said Sawyer. "Climate change is already upon us; it's like a tidal wave forming out at sea, but if we act decisively we can substantially reduce the number of people killed and displaced, animal and plant species lost, habitats wiped out, and wars between nations over oil," he said.

To avoid the worst threats of climate change, we need to bring global emissions back to 1990 levels by about 2020 and then reduce them by 50% by mid-century. Reductions of at least 30% on 1990 levels (the 'baseline' year for the Kyoto Protocol) by 2020 from industrialized countries are required, with a target of at least 75% reductions by mid-century. (see Greenpeace Briefing - How much climate change can we bear?

Bringing the US back into the global climate protection effort is the next major hurdle. "This is a major defeat for President Bush and his paymasters in the fossil fuel industry. His administration and other climate criminals like Exxon-Mobil have failed in their attempt to wreck Kyoto, even going so far as to suppress the work of their own scientists," said Sawyer. Fortunately, US state governments and key congressional figures are beginning to respond to the public demand for action on climate change, and the US business community is beginning to wake up to the opportunities and challenges of creating a low-carbon economy.

(see Greenpeace Briefing - Kyoto, the USA and business

"Now that we have the Kyoto Protocol in place, the only question which remains is whether politicians can act faster than the climate can change," said Sawyer.

VVPR info: Photos and video of climate change impacts and industrial pollution available.Photo - Laura Lombardi +31646162009Video - Maarten van Rouveroy +31646197322

Notes: Greenpeace Briefing - Kyoto, the USA and business Briefing - How much climate change can we bear?