Fight To Get
Harder From 2012
By Alister Doyle
25 November, 2004
global warming will get tougher once the Kyoto protocol ends in 2012
and the world must try to get Washington involved in the long term,
the head of the UN Environment Programme said on Wednesday.
Klaus Toepfer also welcomed Russia's ratification of the 128-nation
plan, triggering a countdown to Kyoto's entry into force on February
16 next year even though the United States pulled out in 2001.
He said countries
should already start planning for what he said would be harder, deeper
curbs on emissions of heat-trapping gases after Kyoto. The pact aims
to cut emissions by developed nations by 5.2 percent below 1990 levels
"We have to
discuss beyond Kyoto, we have to start the negotiations," he told
Reuters on the sidelines of an eight-nation conference on a rapid thaw
of the Arctic region.
He said Kyoto cuts
could be easily reached like "low-hanging fruits" but that
beyond Kyoto "you have really to ask about the energy structure
in future, how do you change the carbon intensity, how to increase efficiency."
UN scientists say
that gases from burning fossil fuels in cars, power plants and factories
are blanketing the planet and driving up temperatures. That could cause
catastrophic floods, storms and raise sea levels by almost a metre (3ft)
He said US involvement
after 2012 was a key to encouraging a wider assault on global warming,
especially in China or India which have fast-growing economies and account
for 40 percent of the world's population.
I believe that beyond Kyoto we should have a very, very central target
of (enlisting) the United States," he said.
is making no promises. President George W. Bush has said Kyoto would
cost too much and wrongly excludes poor states, which have no targets
for curbs until 2012.
we think it's necessary to focus on the (domestic) plans we have put
in place," said Paula Dobriansky, US Under Secretary, Global Affairs,
when asked if Washington might take part in global planning for beyond
to cut the amount of greenhouse gases emitted for every dollar of US
economic output by 18 percent over the decade to 2012. The policy will
brake a rise in emissions but stops short of caps sought by Kyoto.
"In 2012 we
will take stock of the trends and then we will reassess our approach
if necessary," Dobriansky told Reuters.
Toepfer, a German,
said that the United States was the top emitter of carbon dioxide, the
main greenhouse gas, but also a key source of new technology for non-polluting
energies like solar or wind power.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair for taking a lead and planning a 60
percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. But he said it would
mean wrenching change.
"I don't want
to water it down but (Kyoto targets) were the low-hanging fruits,"
he said. "You cannot get to 60 percent with low-hanging fruits."
Kyoto is meant to
be a first step against global warming. UN projections show that Kyoto
will brake rising world temperatures by only about 0.1C (0.2F), a pinprick
compared to a forecast rise of 1.4-5.8C by 2100.