UK must push harder on US/Russia Kyoto ratification, say Lords
The UK government must continue to apply pressure on both the US and Russia to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, the House of Lords urged in a report published on Wednesday. With the environmental treaty yet to become internationally binding, and given the UK’s targets for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and the development of a low carbon economy, the report calls upon the government “as a matter of priority, to take further steps at the highest levels” to encourage other nations to tackle climate change, “and in particular to ratify the Kyoto Protocol”.
Ratification on a wider scale would also limit the problem of a perceived competitive disadvantage to the industries of those economies that have ratified, compared to those that have not, it adds.
This new study, presented by the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee on Wednesday, stresses that while the UK must make an effort with all nations regarding the Kyoto Protocol, it is the participation of Russia or the US - preferably both, the report notes - that is required.
While Russian ratification has become more likely in the wake of comments made by the country’s president, Vladimir Putin, American ratification appears unlikely in the near future following the country’s withdrawal from the Protocol in 2001.
The report comes as Margaret Beckett, the UK’s environment secretary, has stated that the observable impacts of climate change have pushed the issue “pretty high up the agenda” for the government. Speaking in an interview with UK daily newspaper The Guardian, Beckett observed that an environmental focus has to be incorporated into a range of government policies - notably fiscal policy and renewable energy generation.
On the feasibility of the UK’s target of a 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 compared with 1990 levels, she observed that the more optimistic commentators “think it is do-able with technologies that we’re either using, or within sight of using”.
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