'Happy Birthday Kyoto' - youth celebrates climate change treaty anniversary

Press release - December 11, 2007
The youth group initiated by Greenpeace - Solar Generation - today called for the world to celebrate the Kyoto Protocol on its 10th anniversary - and shared a giant 1.5m three-tier birthday cake with the conference.

The cake was decorated with forests, orangutans, and renewable energy symbols including windmills and solar panels, with the words "Happy 10th Birthday Kyoto" in English, Indonesian and Japanese.

The first slice was cut by Japanese Environment Minister Ichiro Kamashito at the end of the UNFCCC's 10th anniversary press conference.

Designed to be strengthened and broadened through time, the Kyoto Protocol's first commitment period, from 2008-12, starts next year. The Bali conference is negotiating the framework for the second phase, beginning in late 2012.

"The Kyoto Protocol is the hope for our future - we are bound together. The youth of today is celebrating Kyoto because its birthday marks a commitment the world made to a future of cutting emissions and dealing with climate change," said Agnes de Rooij of Solar Generation International.

"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. Kyoto is a strong basis from which to create the urgent political response we need on climate change," she said. 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) this year concluded that Kyoto is working. It has successfully set up the right legal frameworks and mechanisms, and stimulated national action. However, it noted that Kyoto was constrained by "modest emissions limits." (1)

"At ten years old, one is expected to take on more responsibility in life. You're expected to know right from wrong. Now that Kyoto is ten, this conference needs to give it that responsibility," said De Rooij.

"It is clear from the science that what we have at the moment is not strong enough and that Kyoto needs to be built on and strengthened. We call on all countries to honour this treaty, respect their citizens and future generations and do the work," she said. 

Other contacts: Media:Cindy Baxter, Greenpeace International communicationsTel +62 81 33 794 9713/4/5Solar Generation:Agnes de Rooij, Greenpeace InternationalTel: +62 81 31 072 3031Climate Campaign:Stephanie Tunmore, Greenpeace International climate campaignerTel: +62 81 33 794 9705

Notes: (1) The IPCC, in its Fourth Assessment Report, Working Group III, Summary for Policymakers: “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.” and “The Kyoto Protocol is currently constrained by the modest emission limits. 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.”