European Union to ratify Protocol of Kyoto

The EU environment ministers agreed in Brussels on Monday to ratify the Protocol of Kyoto, strengthening the EU’s hand in applying pressure on the USA not to abandon the terms of the document signed in Kyoto.

The EU Member States broke through an earlier impasse when they decided to vote by a simple majority. The preoccupations raised by Britain and Italy that such a document could set legal precedents which could later be used to reduce national sovereignty were overcome by a preamble, in which it was stated that the terms of this agreement would not be deemed to be constituting any legal precedent.

Denmark asked for special consideration to be given to its case due to the fact that exceptional climactic circumstances in 1990 (the control year for GEG emissions) meant that this country imported electricity, temporarily reducing its GEG emission. This request is to be studied by the EU.

The Portuguese Secretary of State for the Environment, Rui Goncalves, stated that this agreement was “fundamental” because it would enable the 15 member states to apply pressure on the USA. he declared that “The more you look at the position of the USA the more you see that it is a great step back from what it had agreed in Kyoto. It is estimated that the plan presented by President Bush to combat climate change will lead to an increase of between 25 and 35% of GEG, when the USA was supposed to reduce by 7%”.

Each member state of the EU is expected to ratify the Protocol of Kyoto in their national parliaments before the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg next August.


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