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Kyoto Protocol celebrates first anniversary


13 Feb 2006, Gland, Switzerland – As the Kyoto Protocol celebrates its first anniversary, higher oil prices are a clear opportunity for governments to intensify moves towards cleaner energy alternatives, says WWF.

“Don’t wait around for higher oil prices or even more worries about energy security, act now,” says Jennifer Morgan, Director of WWF’s Climate Change Programme. “The Kyoto Protocol may be one-year old, but we are still far from winning the fight against global warming.”

2006 is a crucial year for strengthening the momentum towards clean energy and for keeping climate change under control. In May, governments will start negotiations on future reductions in climate damaging pollution after 2012, taking the Montreal Action Plan forward.

The Montreal Action Plan (MAP) is the key outcome of last December’s international climate change conference in Montreal, Canada. The MAP sets out how the 155 countries, having ratified the Kyoto Protocol, will negotiate deeper emission cuts for the second phase of the Kyoto Protocol after 2012.

The G8 Summit in St Petersburg this summer will also discuss energy security. Governments will have to come up with strategies and incentives to fuel the switch to clean energy and secure energy efficiency measures. Elsewhere, the international climate change conference in November in Nairobi will be where we see how committed governments actually are implementing the Montreal Plan of Action.

“The Montreal climate conference has set the direction for reducing climate pollution, planning for strong cuts in emissions,” says Morgan. “Now we must make sure that governments and industry move forward fast enough and with the strength required to backup their promises. Time is running out to avoid the worst impacts.”

WWF urges that new energy sources such as wind, geothermal, solar and biomass should be at the centre of a global effort, as well as pushing energy efficiency to the maximum. For instance, Europe’s energy consumption could be cut by at least a third.

“Kyoto is a symbol of the political will to act on climate change,” states Morgan. “On Kyoto Day, governments and corporations around the world should demonstrate that political will by announcing further measures each will take to curb global warming. That would be something to celebrate.”

The Kyoto Protocol entered into force on 16 February 2005, 90 days after it was ratified by the Russian Parliament. Russia was the last industrialised country to come into the Kyoto fold, leaving outside only the US and Australia among industrialized countries.


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