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One year later Kyoto targets still far off
Posted: 14 Feb 2006

Governments are failing to take the necessary action to ensure delivery of the Kyoto Protocol, Friends of the Earth said today, one year after this global treaty came into force to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Emissions data from countries signed up to Kyoto reveal that many of the worlds’s industrialised countries are still failing to bring carbon emissions under control – with emissions in Italy, Canada, and Austria all increasing since 1990. UK emissions are also now rising – putting the UK’s Kyoto commitments in jeopardy.

Friends of the Earth warned that existing emission targets under the treaty are insufficient to avoid dangerous runaway climate change, with far deeper cuts required. But despite dramatic scientific warnings and substantial evidence that climate change is happening faster than previously predicted, global emissions are still on the rise.

The UK is reviewing its Climate Change Programme – seen as a crucial document in the battle against climate change. But this has been delayed and is reportedly bogged down in Whitehall disputes, and the Government appear to be giving greater priority to the Energy Review.

Friends of the Earth’s International Climate Campaigner Catherine Pearce said:“Countries are not even on track to meet even their modest Kyoto targets, despite growing recognition that we are already facing dramatic consequences as a result of climate change. If we have any hope of
keeping temperature increases under control while we still have time, governments around the world must do more to improve energy efficiency,
clean up our use of fossil fuels and invest more in sustainable, safe renewables.“

Mike Childs, Head of Campaigns at Friends of the Earth added: “The UK likes to claim world leadership on climate change. Although UK
emissions have been reduced since 1990, recent increases give cause for concern and could lead to the UK missing its Kyoto commitments. The
Government must use the forthcoming Climate Change Programme Review to ensure delivery of our international commitments, as well as meeting its bigger election manifesto commitments to reduce carbon dioxide by 20 per cent. The Climate Change Programme is the most important policy document this Government will produce.”

Kyoto’s first anniversary comes at a crucial time with talks due to start on the next phase of the Kyoto Protocol, post 2012, as well as key policy reviews taking place in the UK to look at future action on climate change and an energy review.

The Montreal declaration strengthened international resolve to continue legally binding targets under Kyoto, despite efforts from the US Administration to block progress. Talks later this year will consider further emission reductions for the industrialised world, as well as potential action to limit growing emissions from some of the rapidly industrialising countries such as China and India.

Catherine Pearce added: “One year on from Kyoto coming into force, we must look to a stronger improved Kyoto after 2012. But the strength of the post 2012 climate regime will inevitably depend on how much progress has already been made. Industrialised countries must show greater leadership and provide more support so that developing countries can follow suit.”