Global climate change is one of the most serious threats facing our wildlife and wild spaces. Next week, delegates from all corners of the globe will attend the two week climate summit in The Hague, Netherlands, where the final decisions will determine how effective the international global warming treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, will be in reducing the pollution that causes global warming. The summit, or the 6th Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, will hopefully close the loopholes of the Kyoto Protocol and take us one step closer to curbing global warming.
It is time to get the rules right. In an effort to make the Kyoto Protocol as cheap as possible, the U.S. is trying to water-down the rules to the point that it will significantly alter the pollution reduction commitments in the protocol. World Wildlife Fund is encouraging the U.S. Administration and leaders around the world to strengthen the rules, for our future and the future of the world's creatures. The U.S. position, as it stands today, will weaken the climate treaty. The Clinton/ Gore Administration has only two weeks left to show leadership on this urgent issue.
The successful Kyoto Protocol will:
- ensure the vast majority of targets are met through domestic action;
- make sure that the Kyoto Protocol is an emissions reduction protocol, not a land-use protocol;
- start up a Clean Development Mechanism that prioritizes clean energy technologies; and
- give the Protocol enforcement powers to make certain that countries do not exceed their targets.
The Kyoto Protocol will not curb global warming if:
- it allows countries to meet a good part of their targets through buying up Russian "hot air";
- countries can use sinks to meet large portions of their targets;
- the CDM gives new incentives for nuclear power, large hydro and "clean" coal projects;
- native forests in industrialized and developing countries are cleared to make way for plantations; and
- countries can continuously borrow from the future to meet their targets.
The climate treaty is complicated and the devil is in the details. If the loopholes in the Kyoto Protocol are not closed, the world's biodiversity will be at extreme risk. It is Make-Or-Break for the Kyoto Protocol.