Greenpeace worker holds the teather of the Balloon
At the close of COP7, the latest negotiations on the Kyoto
Protocol, the international agreement aimed at preventing dangerous
climate change, Greenpeace today described the outcome as a hard
won battle for a token outcome.
"Governments may be congratulating themselves now, but what have
they really achieved? As climate change bites harder, leaders of
the future will look back on the Marrakech meeting as a lost
opportunity and realise that the participants of COP7 should have
done more to tackle climate change," said Bill Hare, Greenpeace
climate policy director.
"But the Kyoto Protocol is just a small start in what must be an
ongoing and ever increasing commitment to reduce greenhouse gases
globally. Now that the architecture of the Protocol is in place,
parties have no excuse to delay ratifying and implementing it.
"The Kyoto Protocol is the key to preventing dangerous climate
change. The door has only just been unlocked. Now we have to fling
it wide open."
The Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change (UNFCCC) was initially designed to reduce greenhouse
gas emissions from industrialised countries by 5%. By the end of
the Bonn negotiations last July, the effectiveness of the Protocol
had already been substantially weakened. Emission reductions in the
order of 80% are needed if dangerous climate change is to be
"We still have a long, long way to go. This is just the
beginning," said Hare.
After two weeks of negotiations, the fine details of the
implementation of the Protocol have been ironed out - but there are
still many problems. These include: Russia has been allowed about a
100% increase on its already generous forest management sinks
allowance, from 17 Megatonnes to 33 Megatonnes of carbon per year.
A lost opportunity to contribute concrete recommendations on how to
tackle climate change at the World Summit on Sustainable
Development (Rio +10) in Johannesberg in September 2002 by, for
example, calling for a major program of renewable energy to bring
electricity to the 2 billion people of the world who currently do
not have access to electricity.
Failure to concretely stop the banking of forest and other land
use sink credits, which will lead to higher fossil fuel emissions
in the future. Failure to ensure that the eligibility to take part
in the trading system is tied to properly reporting on forest
activities used for sink credits.
However there have been some minor environmental victories
during the past two weeks of negotiations. These include:
- New provisions for public participation in the Clean
Development Mechanism that will help the public monitor and have
input into proposed CDM projects.
- Enforceable rules that ensure that countries must adhere to a
set of rules on reporting, monitoring and verification of emissions
before being able to use the Kyoto mechanisms: emissions trading,
Joint Implementation and the Clean Development Mechanism.
- Ensuring that it is possible to geographically locate and
verify areas of land claimed for sink credits.
- Quality control standards for reporting on sink credits.