Kyoto alone is not enough to tackle climate change

Share

It is crucial that the world does not come to regard the Kyoto protocol, which comes into force tomorrow, as any sort of "solution" to the problem of climate change. The protocol, which obliges 55 industrial nations to cut their carbon emissions, is merely the first step on a long, difficult journey.

It is crucial that the world does not come to regard the Kyoto protocol, which comes into force tomorrow, as any sort of "solution" to the problem of climate change. The protocol, which obliges 55 industrial nations to cut their carbon emissions, is merely the first step on a long, difficult journey.

And recent scientific research has indicated that we are badly behind schedule. Sea levels are rising, the polar ice caps are melting and the earth is heating up at a frightening rate. The conference of climatologists that gathered in Exeter recently spelled out in no uncertain terms the catastrophe that will befall our planet unless we take urgent action.

The targets set by the 1997 protocol - to reduce emissions by 2012 to 5.2 per cent below the 1990 levels - are grossly inadequate. Our own government's unilateral goal of reducing emissions by 20 per cent below 1990 levels by 2010 is substantially closer to what is necessary.

This ambitious target would be a source of pride were it not for the fact that Britain is not on course to reach it. This revelation is an embarrassment for Tony Blair, considering that he has pledged to use Britain's presidency of the G8 this year to push the need to tackle climate change to the top of the international agenda. It leaves him open, once again, of talking well but failing to deliver. It is also distinctly odd that our government is obstructing attempts by the EU to bring in tougher Europe-wide emissions targets.

Another embarrassment for the Prime Minister is the fact that his close ally, George Bush, is still showing no signs of taking the issue of climate change seriously, despite the fact that the United States is by far the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Whether Mr Blair will be able to soften the intransigence of the US President will be a key test of how much influence our Prime Minister really has on the other side of the Atlantic.

The implementation of Kyoto is undoubtedly a step forward, but it will take a great deal more before it is possible to say that the world has truly faced up to the terrible threat posed by climate change.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: how to spell BBQ and other linguistic irregularities

Guy Keleny
 

South Africa's race problem is less between black and white than between poor blacks and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa

John Carlin
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own