Kyoto Thrives In Montreal Despite Last Minute Game Of Russian Roulette

December 10, 2005

Government leaders in Montreal today (Saturday 10th December 2005) reached a historic agreement on future action to tackle climate change.  The Montreal Action Plan (MAP) was concluded despite a last minute intervention from Russia which almost resulted in deadlock.

Negotiators worked through Friday night to reach a progressive agreement under the Kyoto Protocol, which will lead to deeper emissions cuts in the next commitment period, which starts in 2013.  This Kyoto deal initiates crucial negotiations on legally binding targets for industrialised countries and also sets in motion a wider review of the entire regime involving all countries, due to be discussed at talks next year.

Agreement was also reached under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) despite the reluctance of the United States administration, which put forward new text to weaken the deal.

Friends of the Earth International Vice Chair Tony Juniper said:
“Despite Russia’s attempt to wreck the deal, this meeting has made a historic agreement which will strengthen global resolve with legally-binding targets to take action to tackle climate change under the Kyoto Protocol. It has sent a clear signal that the future lies in cleaner and more sustainable technologies and is good news for people everywhere.

“We expected progress under the Convention, but the US administration effectively forced the rest of the world to bend over backwards to keep them on board. The result is a very weak deal.“

Friends of the Earth International Climate Change Campaigner Catherine Pearce said: “Scientific evidence clearly demands urgent action to cut the pollution that is warming our world.  The international community has wisely taken these warnings seriously by agreeing to further action.  This is a clear signal that the Kyoto agreement is alive and well. Leaders have shown that much-needed progress can be made.  The Government of Canada deserves real praise for the role it played in making the Montreal meeting a success.”

Late night drama (Thursday) saw the United States delegation leave the talks, in an effort to collapse negotiations under both the UN Framework Convention and the Kyoto Protocol.  On Friday further attempts to block progress saw the United States delegation table new draft text, further diluting the meaning of the deal.

But strong leadership from the Canadian President and clear resolve from other countries, including Britain, Japan and major developing countries, particularly Brazil and South Africa, made progress possible.

Countries signed up to the Kyoto Protocol (all major industrialised and developing countries, except the USA and Australia) have agreed to ensure new targets on cuts in greenhouse gas emissions will be in place to immediately follow the first commitment phase in 2012.

Rules governing the Kyoto Protocol’s operation (the Marrakesh Accords) were agreed in Montreal, including the legally binding nature of the regime. Countries also agreed to a review of both the Kyoto Protocol and Framework Convention to start next year.

An agreement was also reached on reform of the “Clean Development Mechanism” (the mechanism allowing industrialised countries to claim carbon credits by investing in clean energy projects in the developing world).  But concerns remain about what this includes and what will be delivered.

Notes:
Images of Friends of the Earth International’s Climate Mosaic, on display outside the Palais des Congres, can be downloaded at www.foei.org and www.foe.co.uk/resource/images/cop11_montreal

Contact:
Catherine Pearce, Friends of the Earth International Climate Campaigner + 1
347 992 2505

Roque Pedace, Friends of the Earth Argentina (Esp), +1 514 718 2047

Helen Burley, Friends of the Earth Media Officer +1 201 954 5317 or + 44
7778 069930

Stephanie Long
Friends of the Earth Australia
0414 136 461