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MEMO/01/121

Brussels, 4 April 2001

EU will fight to save Kyoto agreement

The European Union troika represented by Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström, Swedish Environment Minister Kjell Larsson and Marc Pallemaerts from the Belgian State Secretary's Office for Energy and Sustainable Development expressed concern and disappointment over the US Administration's withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol following talks 3 April in Washington. The troika underlined that the Kyoto Protocol remains the framework for international efforts to combat climate change and that the EU remains committed to ratifying the Kyoto protocol by 2002. The EU representatives warned that climate change is already happening and that it is a serious threat to the future of mankind. The troika also underlined that one country cannot declare dead an international process that deals with a major global issue. The EU still hopes to have the US involved in the Kyoto Protocol as soon as possible but is prepared to go forward without the US if necessary.

Commissioner Margot Wallström said: "In all countries, climate change will be on top of the political agenda for a long time to come. By choosing not to be part of the process the United States will miss this opportunity. It will not only lose influence over the process, it will not be able to participate in international emissions trading".

"The evidence of climate change is based on a broad consensus among the world scientific community. We were happy to note that nobody on the US side questioned the science about climate change. All countries have a responsibility to mitigate the effects of climate change. This is particularly true for the industrialised countries, which must take the lead. Per capita the United States CO2 emissions are more than 20 tons, while the average emissions for developed countries is 12 tons, and for developing countries, about 2 tons," said Swedish Environment Minister Kjell Larsson.

"Combating climate change is not only about cost; it provides an opportunity for new technology and for modernising our economies. We also know that companies on both sides of the Atlantic want certainty about the rules", Commissioner Wallström said.

Mission to Russia, Iran, China and Japan

The troika will on Friday 6 April continue to Russia, Iran, China and Japan to meet with some of the major stakeholders in the Kyoto process. Iran is the chairman of the "G77" group of the developing countries and Japan is a member of the Umbrella group. The troika will discuss the US position and how the negotiations should go forward. The objective of the visit is to see where they stand and to find allies in the fight against global warming.

Background

The EU troika represented by the Swedish EU Presidency, the European Commission and the incoming Belgium Presidency visited the United States between 2 and 3 April and held meetings on climate change with members of US Administration, Congress and Non-Governmental Organizations in Washington.

Wednesday 4 April the troika will be in Canada to meet with the Canadian Environment Minister David Anderson and other Government Ministers.

Between Friday April 6 and Tuesday April 10, the EU troika will visit Russia, Iran, China and Japan. Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström will take part in the meetings in Japan on 9 to 10 April (see Memo/01/118).


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