To mark tomorrow’s second anniversary of the Kyoto Protocol’s entry into force, European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas called for the international community to begin negotiations urgently on a comprehensive global climate change treaty that would succeed Kyoto when its targets expire in 2012. Commissioner Dimas is in Washington until tomorrow for talks with high-level US government officials and members of Congress on future global climate change action and other environmental issues. To coincide with the Kyoto anniversary the Commission is hosting a meeting of European meteorologists and television weather presenters in Brussels as part of its campaign to raise awareness of what individuals can do to help combat climate change.
Commissioner Dimas said: It is crucial that the United States and all other major emitters participate in these efforts. The very grave threat that climate change poses is global, and only a global solution can avert it. I am very encouraged that interest is rapidly increasing in the United States for using emissions trading as a key tool to limit greenhouse gas emissions, as we are doing in Europe.
The Kyoto Protocol is a landmark first step towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but much deeper cuts are needed to prevent dangerous levels of climate change that would have huge economic, social and environmental impacts on all of humanity. In the light of the alarming new global warming projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change earlier this month, the international community must urgently start negotiations on a comprehensive and ambitious new global agreement to succeed Kyoto. ”
Commissioner Dimas continued: With the climate change and energy package we put forward on 10 January the European Commission is leading the way in showing what needs to be done. The essential next step must be for developed countries as a group to reduce their emissions to 30% below 1990 levels by 2020. Developing countries also need to start reducing the growth in their emissions in line with their ability to do so. This bold action is achievable and affordable and it is essential if we are to have a chance of limiting global warming to no more than 2°C above the pre-industrial temperature. 2°C is the threshold beyond which science tells us that the risk of irreversible and possibly catastrophic changes will sharply increase. For the sake of future generations we cannot afford to let that happen.”
During his visit to Washington Commissioner Dimas is setting out the ideas contained in the integrated energy and climate change package presented by the Commission last month. The package aims at stepping up the global fight against climate change, increasing the European Union’s energy security and strengthening its competitiveness.
By putting forward concrete targets and proposals for action, the package has created fresh momentum in discussions to prepare the ground for a new global climate change agreement. The Commission wants to see this translated rapidly into the start of concrete negotiations.
Meeting of meteorologists
As part of the Commission’s “You control climate change” awareness-raising campaign, more than 45 meteorologists and television weather presenters from across the European Union will meet tomorrow at the Commission’s Berlaymont headquarters in Brussels. As both climate experts and media personalities in their home countries, weather presenters are well placed to help the campaign’s aims of raising public awareness about climate change and what individuals can do to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They are being invited to form a network to support these goals.
The meeting will be opened by the Commission’s Director-General for Environment, Mogens Peter Carl. Other speakers include Mr Jerry Lengoasa, Assistant Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organisation, and two lead authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s forthcoming Fourth Assessment Report, Prof Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (Germany) and Professor Pavel Kabat of Wageningen University and Research Centre (the Netherlands).
The campaign seeks to give people a sense of personal responsibility by providing practical tips on how everyone can help to reduce emissions through small gestures such as installing energy-efficient lamps and recycling waste. It is using a variety of communication tools including television, online and outdoor advertising, a dedicated website and a special schools programme.
See also: Climate change and the EUs response
EU action on climate change
“You control climate change” campaign