Global celebrations for Kyoto Protocol

Feature story - February 16, 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. Greenpeace celebrated in the city of Kyoto by flying a hot air balloon over ancient temples and shrines with the message, "Kyoto: new dawn for the climate".

More than 200 schoolchildren take part in a human mosaic on the Rice fields of Pulupundan, forming the message: "Kyoto Protocol: new dawn for the climate."

In the island of Negros , Philippines more than 200 schoolchildren took part in a human mosaic on the ricefields of Pulupundan, forming the message: " Kyoto Protocol: new dawn for the climate" . The human mosaic is tribute of Greenpeace to the community of Pulupundan, which has successfully rejected a coal power plant project, and is now putting in place a wind farm that will become source for clean renewable energy for the island.

In Bangkok , youngsters demonstrated the benefits of clean renewable energy, like solar and wind, to pedestrians at the Victory Monument . The youth are members of Solar Generation, a group of kids and young people fighting climate change and pushing for renewable energy.

Greenpeace held celebrations in other cities including Beijing , Bonn , Moscow , Madrid , Helsinki , Sydney , Bangalore , Hong Kong and Suva .

"This is a historic moment in climate protection", said Athena Ronquillo-Ballesteros 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 emphasizes 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 1.3C higher than pre-industrial levels. If the average temperature rises by 2C, the impacts of climate change will be catastrophic. To stay below 2C, industrialized 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 Ronquillo-Ballesteros. " 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.

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