Kyoto agreement must stand the test of timeMarrakech, Morocco: Australia, Canada, Japan and Russia should abandon their entrenched positions on the Kyoto Protocol and join the rest of the world in concluding a climate treaty that will stand the test of time, said WWF, the conservation organization, today.
The Marrakech climate conference is on track for reaching a satisfactory outcome in deciding the detailed operational rules for the Kyoto Protocol. During the first week of talks, however, the four governments remained welded to the defense of their limited national interests. It is no longer a matter of them scuppering the entire Kyoto Protocol. However, their opposition to key provisions in the Kyoto treaty could seriously limit the effectiveness of what is the only international agreement that can protect humanity and nature from the worst impacts of global warming. If the Marrakech conference accedes to the four nations’ demands it would be akin to rewriting parts of July’s Bonn Agreement.
"The continual quest for loopholes by Australia, Canada, Japan and Russia is a diversion in the real fight against global warming," said Jennifer Morgan, Director of WWF’s Climate Change Campaign. "They’re doing each other’s dirty work. It’s time for them to pause, reflect and then agree to the core details that will make Kyoto effective when people look back in 10 or 20 years’ time. It’s a legacy issue."
WWF believes there are four key elements by which the next generation of policymakers will judge the agreement. They are whether Kyoto has a compliance system with "teeth" that would adequately penalize nations that renege on emission reduction targets; whether there is a ‘carbon market’ that maximizes market forces to limit global warming pollution; whether the agreement requires adequate reporting and allows scrutiny of what countries are doing by the public, media and other policymakers; and are the provisions on "sinks" sound or merely an escape clause.
In WWF’s view, Australia, Canada, Japan and Russia have done their best to soften or even delete these core elements during the first week in Marrakech. WWF is particularly critical of Russia, which the other three nations have been hiding behind. Russia has been claiming that each of its positions are vital for securing its ratification. Russia is attempting to utilize its large influence over the entry into force of the Kyoto for its own political gain.
Specifically these four countries have tabled proposals to weaken the compliance system, lower the standards for the emissions trading system and ensure that little or no information is available on-the-ground on sinks activities like forest and cropland management. They have also been working to weaken the transparency of the system overall by proposing limited access to information in the compliance system and the Clean Development Mechanism.
Ministers begin three days of deliberations on Wednesday that must bring to conclusion the rules for operating the Kyoto treaty.
"What WWF also wants to hear from each of the Ministers in turn are the words ‘We will do our utmost to bring Kyoto into force before the end of next year,’ " said Jennifer Morgan.
For further information contact:
Andrew Kerr, WWF Climate Change Campaign. Tel: +212 6 283 6295 or +31 6 5161 9462 (mobile)