Demanding Putin sign the Kyoto Protocol.
In 1988 politicians started talking seriously about the threat
of global warming and climate change. It took many years of
horse-trading and a lot of hot air to arrive at the first baby step
to tackling global warming - the Kyoto Protocol of 1997. It's now
15 years later and Kyoto has yet to enter into force because the US
is determined to block any international effort to address climate
change. That leaves Russia as the one country that needs to sign to
make the treaty international law. Our activists are delivering
birthday reminders to Putin around the globe urging him to sign up
and start global efforts to tackle climate change.
first action of the day was at the Russian embassy in Bangkok where
activists presented the ambassador with a cake in the shape of a
melting Earth. The ambassador repeated that Russia is still
examining the treaty (read 'stalling' as they have had 3 years to
'examine' it already). After exchanging views the activists left
only slightly disappointed that the cake was actually accepted,
thus scuppering their plans to sample some tasty morsels.
Around the world, and around the clock, Greenpeace activists and
volunteers presented Russian embassy officials with giant pens,
birthday cakes, and other reminders to Putin that he's not getting
any younger, and climate change is not going away on its own.
The Russian delay
in signing the treaty is mystifying. The government has previously
promised to sign and Russia stands to gain economically from the
conditions of the treaty. It is quite likely that the US
government, at the urging of its corporate backers like Exxon, is
pressuring Russia not to bring the treaty into force. Or maybe
Putin is paying too much attention to his economic advisors who
claim the treaty will be too expensive for Russia.
In fact the
opposite is true. Russia would gain from the treaty because
industrial decline has lowered its emissions of greenhouse gases
since the collapse of outdated state industries. The impacts of
climate change would have many adverse affects on Russia even if
Putin likes to joke that Russians would have to wear their hats
climate campaigner, Steven Guilbeault, explains: "Climate change is
becoming a reality in many parts of the globe and Russia is no
exception. Permafrost, which covers approximately 2/3 of Russian
territory, is showing signs of melting. This will damage forests,
pipelines, buildings and other infrastructure. Productivity in the
agriculture sector could be reduced between 10 - 40 percent.
Infectious diseases like West Nile Virus and Dengue Fever are
likely to affect more and more Russians in the decades to
doubt Russians might not find it as funny as Putin does if they
swap their hats for more expensive food, damaged infrastructure and
extra helpings of infectious diseases. Kyoto will not alone solve
the problem of climate change but it does mark a historic first
step in international efforts to combat a problem that affects us
all. Let's hope Putin doesn't chop the legs off these first global
efforts before a first step is even taken.
Kyoto Protocol Thermometer from United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change
Greenpeace Climate Change pages
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