MPs urged to act on climate change

Pressure group calls on parliamentarians in 40 countries to build support for strong deal in Kyoto

Parliamentarians from all political parties in 40 European countries are being called upon to urge their governments to make clear commitments to cut emissions of greenhouse gases, when parties to the UN climate change convention meet in Kyoto, Japan, in December.

On Friday, a letter was sent to some 12,000 European MPs by Globe EU, a green pressure group within the European Parliament representing all political parties. Though Globe frequently circulates campaign materials to its members in national parliaments, it has never before undertaken a mass mailing to MPs of all political persuasions.

"Climate change is qualitatively different from many other environmental issues," Globe EU's president, Carlos Pimenta, said at a press conference on Friday. "Solving this problem will inevitably require a fundamental change in the way we organise our societies; transport, waste, energy, agriculture, virtually every economic sector will be affected."

It is "the responsibility of all elected representatives" to be involved in their governments' preparations for the UN meeting in Kyoto at which a legally-binding instrument to cut emission is expected to be agreed, Mr Pimenta continued.

In the letter, Globe calls on MPs to schedule parliamentary debates on climate change ahead of the Kyoto meeting and to adopt resolutions urging their own - and other - governments to commit to long-term action. The Italian parliament has recently adopted just such a resolution.

Specifically, Globe wants governments to agree not only a protocol for developed countries in December, but also a "Kyoto mandate" to begin negotiations for all governments, including those of developing countries, to set a common per capita emission level to be achieved by the end of the next century.

It wants EU parliaments to press their governments to turn the EU's current negotiating position for the meeting into a unilateral commitment. The EU has made it clear that its internal deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 15% by 2010 is contingent upon its major competitors agreeing to take comparable action (ENDS Daily 4 June).

Globe feels that the EU will have greater credibility in Kyoto if it signals a willingness to take action with or without its competitors. It also calls on EU governments to clearly allocate each member state's contribution to achieving the full 15% target. Currently, only two-thirds of this has been officially allocated, which Globe believes also weakens the EU's position.

Follow Up:
Global Legislators for a Balanced Environment EU, tel: +32 2 230 6589.

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