WASHINGTON - World Wildlife Fund congratulates the European Union - the European Commission and the 15 member states - on completing ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and delivering its ratification documents to the United Nations in New York today. With this delivery, 69 countries will have ratified the climate treaty and the first criterion for the treaty to become international law - ratification by a minimum of 55 countries - is achieved.
"For responsible leaders, there's no question about whether we should use available solutions to combat global warming when the harmful effects are already being felt," said Jennifer Morgan, director of WWF's Climate Change Program. "EU ratification is a great step forward and now leaders of Russia, Japan and Canada must follow the EU's example and put in place the only global framework to reduce CO2 emissions." Japan's ratification is close to final and Russia's Cabinet approved ratification in April.
EU ratification represents significant progress towards the second and final criterion for turning the climate treaty into international law - ratification by the industrialized nations that accounted for at least 55 percent of the industrialized world's CO2 emissions in 1990. Together, the EU member states accounted for approximately a quarter of the industrialized world's CO2 emissions in 1990.
Since the United States, the world's biggest carbon polluter representing about a quarter of 1990 emissions, walked out of international negotiations to address the global problem of increasing CO2 emissions, key other countries must ratify the treaty to meet the second criterion. Key central and eastern European states, Japan and Russia are on track to ratify and turn the climate treaty into international law. Canada is currently considering ratification and Canada's Prime Minister has stated that he would like to ratify the Kyoto Protocol this year.
"This commitment to responsible action on climate change by other countries stands in stark contrast to recent statements and policy decisions by the Bush Administration," said Morgan.
Earlier this month, Harlan Watson, chief climate negotiator for the United States, announced that the United States will not even consider the multi-lateral climate treaty for the next 10 years. Watson ruled out any U.S. participation in the talks to negotiate targets for the second commitment period in 2005.