Lobbyists in top gear as COP6 finale nears

Businesses, green groups, make last minute appeals for changes to Kyoto compromise proposal

Industrialists and environmentalists have been making last-ditch efforts to win changes in the Kyoto protocol implementation plan following yesterday's compromise proposal by conference chairman Jan Pronk.

The message from green NGOs was black: "The Pronk plan would lead to emissions growth of five to nine percent," Bill Hare of Greenpeace said today. "This is a complete undermining of the spirit, intent and effectiveness of the Kyoto Protocol."

NGO coalition Climate Action Network said the protocol would be left with "no ecological criteria" and that Mr Pronk's proposal to allow industrialised countries to gain credit for forest planting in developing countries was a "licence to build industrialised plantations" that would threaten large areas of old-growth forest.

The International Chamber of Commerce's more cautious analysis was that it remained unclear whether the eventual accord would be good or bad for industry. Plusses in the draft plan included a strong compliance system, it said, but the "strong limits" on sinks would, if adopted, mean carbon emissions reductions would only be achieved through "significantly greater" economic and social costs.

It also called for clear rules making it explicit that a future emission trading system in industrialised countries would be directly open to business and would allow credits generated through the clean development mechanism (CDM) to be bought and sold. Leaving these issues unclear would produce unacceptable levels of uncertainty and business risk, and could jeopardise the CDM itself, said the ICC's Brian Flannery.

Follow Up:
Greenpeace, tel: +31 20 523 6222; CAN, tel: +32 2 231 0180; International Chamber of Commerce, tel: +33 1 49 53 28 28.

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