Greenpeace celebrates Kyoto and highlights more must be done

Press release - 16 February, 2005
Greenpeace launched a series of events around the world today welcoming the dawn of a new era for climate protection. The Kyoto Protocol is now law and lays the ground for the international community to take the first steps in curbing harmful greenhouse emissions and combating climate change.

Young Maiko girl from Kyoto stands in front of a hot air balloon marking the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol Agreement.

Greenpeace celebrated in the city of Kyoto by flying a hot air balloon over the ancient temples and shrines with the message, "Kyoto: new dawn for the climate". In Beijing, young activists gave a speech on top of Jingshan Hill, behind the Forbidden City, explaining the need for a global switch to renewable energy and energy efficiency. Among the other cities where Greenpeace held celebrations were Bonn, Moscow, Madrid, Helsinki, Sydney, Bangalore, Hong Kong and Suva.

"This is an historic moment in climate protection", said Stephanie Tunmore of Greenpeace International. "But it took more than ten years to get here, leaving us with a very short time to make the treaty bite. Every new piece of evidence that emerges on global warming emphasises the urgency of the situation. Now is the time for the world to roll up its sleeves and work on real solutions to climate change."

Past emissions of greenhouse gases mean the world cannot avoid an increase of average global temperature of 1.3ºC higher than pre-industrial levels. If the average temperature rises by 2ºC, the impacts of climate change will be catastrophic. To stay below 2ºC, industrialised countries must go far beyond the Kyoto requirements and reduce emissions by at least 30% from 1990 levels by 2020 and 60-80% by the 2050s, with even further reductions to follow.

"The tools for keeping climate change under control, such as renewable energy sources and energy efficiency measures, are developed and ready to use," said Tunmore. "Kyoto is the signal that governments and industry have been waiting for. There is now a price on climate pollution and penalties for polluters. The switch to a low carbon economy begins here."

In stark contrast to the rest of the world, the US and Australia continue to deny the true extent of the climate threat and refuse to act. American and Australian industries are in danger of being left behind as Europe and Japan reap the financial and societal benefits of being first in the race to develop climate friendly technologies.

Notes: Greenpeace is an independent campaigning organisation that uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems and to force solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.