Happy 10th Birthday! Let’s ensure Kyoto continues to grow healthy and strong!

10 years old, and still Kyoto is the most far-reaching environmental treaty ever agreed - so let’s give it three cheers and wish it many happy returns!

Feature story - 12 December, 2007
Slightly embarrassed, Japan’s Environment Minister Ichiro Kamashito cut a giant 1.5 metre-high cake which the Solar Generation, Greenpeace’s youth group, arranged to celebrate the 10th birthday of the Kyoto Protocol, in Bali, on 11 December.

Japan's Environment Minister, Ichiro Kamoshita, cuts the cake celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Kyoto Protocol, presented at the international meeting on climate change in Bali by the Solar Generation.

(For the metrically-challenged, like some of us here at Greenpeace, that's very nearly 5 feet of gateau!).

No scantily-clad activist emerged from inside the cake...the

embarrassment was due to Kyoto's host country, Japan - assisted by Australia and Canada - doing its best during the current UN climate negotiations to prevent its offspring Protocol from growing up.

The three-tier cake, decorated with forests, orangutans and symbols of renewable energy, including wind turbines and solar panels, carried the words 'Happy 10th Birthday Kyoto'.

Kyoto has defied attempts by the US Administration to kill it. Better yet, the agreement is working. That's according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - which picked up its Nobel Peace Prize this week, in Oslo.

The IPCC's report earlier this year was clear: "The Kyoto Protocol's most notable achievements are the stimulation of an array of national policies, the creation of a carbon market and the establishment of new institutional mechanisms."

Now Kyoto needs to be fed the healthy diet of a strong Bali mandate for governments to commit to deep and legally-binding cuts in greenhouse gas emissions when the Protocol is in its mid teens.

What's holding Kyoto back, according to the IPCC, is its "modest emissions limits." The pre-eminent scientific body on climate change wrote, "It would be more effective if the first commitment period is followed-up by measures to achieve deeper reductions and the implementation of policy instruments covering a higher share of global emissions."

We could not agree more. Kyoto is the most far-reaching environmental treaty ever agreed, with almost every country in the world committing to some form of action in the fight against climate change.

So let's give three cheers to Kyoto and wish it many happy returns.

This is one birthday cake on which the candles must be kept burning!

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