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The EU sets conditions for ratification of new phase of Kyoto

The EU sets conditions for ratification of new phase of Kyoto

At the latest meeting of the EU environment council on 10 October 2011 the environment ministers of the EU have decided that, while the the European Union remains open to the new phase of the Kyoto climate change pact, it will do so under very clear conditions, namely if the biggest emitters of greenhouse gas ratify the new Kyoto as well.

The environment council conclusions come before the next global climate conference in Durban, South Africa that is to take place on 28 November 2011. Connie Hedegaard, the Climate Action Commissioner says that “ Europe goes to Durban now with a very clear position and priorities” and that the environment council sent a very strong message to the world that all must commit to reducing emissions, in particular the major emitters.

The 1997 Kyoto protocol commits industrialised nations to cutting their emissions of the six main greenhouse gases by an average of 5% below 1990 levels by 2012. The EU committed itself to a higher emissions reduction of 8%. The USA has signed, but not ratified the protocol, while India and China were, though ratifying Kyoto, at the time seen as developing countries and as such not obliged to cut greenhouse gas. Today the three are the biggest emitters of carbon dioxide, while the EU is responsible only for 11% of global carbon emissions.

The Kyoto protocol ends at the end of 2012, with analysts fearing that time to get a new global binding contact to tackle climate change in place by then has run out. EU officials stress that, should Durban prove to be unsuccessful, the EU will not back away from its climate change targets that are to see a reduction in EU greenhouse gas emissions of at least 20% below 1990 levels by 2020.

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