Historic Climate Control Pact Ok’d

After days of tough negotiations, participants to the U.N. Convention on Climate Change (COP) on Monday finally reached an agreement on concrete steps to reduce greenhouse gas, which is of "historical dimension" as described by many participants.

The sixth conference of the COP has been in session since July 16, making an all-out effort to map out rules for implementing the Kyoto Protocol, which commits developed countries to reducing their greenhouse gas emission.

The Kyoto Protocol was in danger of peril after U.S. President George W. Bush rejected the treaty on grounds that it is "fatally flawed." Under its provisions, it can enter into force only with signatures of developed countries representing 55 percent of their greenhouse gas emission in 1990.

With Washington's refusal to implement Kyoto Protocol, Japan’s backing has been crucial to the European Union's efforts to save the treaty.

Japan, Canada and Australia were for weeks striving towards the treaty, pressing for more use of forests and farmlands as they can absorb carbon and serve as substitute for real reduction in greenhouse gas. After they won substantial concession on the issue from the EU, Japan and those wavering countries finally sided with their European partners.

Developing countries, which constitute the majority of the COP parties and have all along called for implementing the Kyoto Protocol, helped to wring the deal. Although they were unhappy with developed countries' soft approach to providing funds and technology in reducing greenhouse gas as required under international treaties, they supported the EU-Japan deal in order to prod them into concrete action in that respect.

According some participants, the success of the Bonn conference is significant not only for the survival of the Kyoto Protocol, but also for its far-reaching impact on the political field, because it is achieved amid growing doubts that without U.S. participation it could ever be done.

Margot Wallstrom, European Commissioner for the Environment, said "this is a victory for the multilateral negotiating process." Some EU officials called it triumph for United Nations and "multilateralism" over "unilateralism."

"The significance of what we have achieved here in Bonn does not merely relate to the climate change process," said Bagher Asadi, chairman of the Group of 77.

(Xinhua News Agency 07/24/2001)

In This Series

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US Retreat From Kyoto Treaty Irresponsible


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