The US and the Straitjacket
Constant Irritation around the Kyoto Protocol
By n-tv online
[This article is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.n-tv.de/5197207.html.]
As the prelude to the discussion about a revision of the Kyoto climate protocol, the US rejected the agreement as an economic straitjacket. In Mailand, representatives from 180 nations are working on the specification of the protocol that earmarks a clear reduction of fuel gas emissions up to 2012.
The department manager in the US State Department Paula Dobriansky wrote in the "Financial Times" that the protocol is an unrealistic and ever-tighter straitjacket. The only acceptable and cost-efficient way to lower emissions is the policy of promoting new energy technologies practiced by the US. The US refuses ratifying the protocol and thus endangers its conversion.
Environmentalists: US Seeks to Undermine the Agreement
Environmentalists reproached the US for consciously obstructing the discussions. The climate head of the environmental group WWF, Jennifer Morgan, said the 60 US-delegates who traveled to Italy seek to undermine the agreement although US-president George W. Bush promised not to hinder other states. The participants negotiated up to December 12 on details of the protocol signed by 120 nations.
According to Kyoto, the output of fuel gases should be lowered by 2012 to less than 95 percent of the 1990 emission level. Fuel gases like carbon dioxide are regarded as causal agents of a global warming of the atmosphere and thus as the cause for droughts, storms and flood disasters. To come into effect, the countries responsible for at least 55 percent of the carbon dioxide output must ratify the treaty.
The greatest causal agent of fuel gases, the US, has withdrawn from the agreement with the explanation that it damages its economy. The US alone is responsible for 36 percent of carbon dioxide emitted worldwide. The Kyoto protocol threatens to fail since Russia is responsible for another 17% of global emissions.
In Berlin, German environmental minister Juergen Trittin expected the negotiations for reducing fuel-gas emissions to continue "in small steps" even if the Kyoto protocol doesn't become effective. At the same time, he admonished: "To advance in international protection of the atmosphere, the world community cannot be idle." Stocktaking is vital on the different technical planes.
Germans want to advance the emissions trade. Trittin announced that the German government would offer a legal regulation at the end of 2003 clarifying the organizational responsibilities. A 2004 law will focus on the difficult accountability decisions on the emission rights in the different economic branches, transportation and private households. Corresponding licenses will be issued for businesses and groups.