The Kyoto Protocol enters into force, without the United States

The international community celebrates on Wednesday the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol, which aims to reduce greenhouse gases in industrial countries by 5,2% by 2012.

The main ceremony will take place, to say the least, in Kyoto, the former imperial capital of Japan where the treaty was signed on February 16, 1997.

The Kyoto Protocol will take effect Wednesday after being ratified by 141 countries including 30 industrialized.

It will be part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change which will be adopted on the occasion of the third Conference of the Parties also taking place in Kyoto on Wednesday.

The ceremony will bring together members of the Conference and several personalities from the international community.

In particular will be present the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner and Kenyan Secretary of State for the Environment, Wangari Maathai, the executive secretary of the Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Dutch Joke Waller-Hunter and the Japanese Minister for Environment Yuriko Koike.

"This is a very important event for Japan," Takashi Omura, head of the Global Environment section at the Ministry of the Environment, told AFP, stressing that the Archipelago intended to play a role of "leader »In the preservation of the environment.

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Video messages from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and European Commission President José Manuel Durao Barroso will also be broadcast.

NGOs will participate in several actions around the world.

Thus, the Climate Action Network (RAC), bringing together 340 environmental NGOs, announced several events to mark the event, such as a bike tour in Lisbon of the embassies of the countries that have ratified the treaty, or the deployment of an inflatable balloon near from the Reichstag in Berlin or the Statue of Liberty in Paris with a message: “Kyoto 2005, Join us! "Addressed to the United States first, and to other countries that have not ratified the treaty.

Protests and NGO press conferences will also be held in Moscow or Tokyo, or in front of the United States Embassy in Rome.

The agreement aims to get Protocol signatory countries to cut emissions of six chemicals by 2008-2012, with a view to reducing global warming.

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This is CO2 (carbon dioxide or carbon dioxide) which represents 60 to 80% of total emissions depending on the country, CH4 (methane), nitrous oxide (N20) and three fluorinated gases (HFC, PFC , SF6).

"Japan will make all its efforts to respect the rules of the Protocol," assured Mr. Omura.

As part of the agreement, Japan must reduce its emissions by 6% compared to 1990 levels, which however poses a challenge for the Japanese industry.

“It will not be easy or insurmountable for Japan to abide by the rules of the Protocol. The government will do it, ”added Mr. Omura, adding that climate change experts were working on this issue.

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The Japanese Ministry of the Economy is currently examining the advisability of an “antipollution tax”, to which the powerful Japanese employers are opposed for fear of seeing the economic recovery compromised.

Australia and the United States also opposed the protocol, fearing that their industries would be subject to the constraints of the environmental agreement and the way of life of their populations would be threatened.

"Only countries signatory to the Protocol will be present at the ceremony, but it remains open to the public," added Mr. Omura, when asked about a possible presence of American representatives in Kyoto.

Source: AFP

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