17 February 2005
“Our choices today will affect the way people live in the future. We owe it to future generations to face up to our responsibilities today.”
|"Today is an important day for all those who are concerned about the future of our planet and the impact of global warming"|
Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon has called on all nations to work together to achieve greater success in curbing global warming.
"Today is an important day for all those who are concerned about the future of our planet and the impact of global warming," he said on 16 February 2005, as the Kyoto Protocol of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change came into force.
From this date, industrialised countries that have signed up to the Kyoto Protocol are legally bound, for the first time, to meet targets to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases by a collective figure of over 5 per cent on their emission levels as these stood in 1990. They must meet this target between 2008 and 2012.
"There is now a real political commitment by some countries to take back carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels and help protect our planet for future generations. The great majority of Commonwealth countries signed up to the Protocol -- 45 out of the 53 member states. These include small states and developing countries which have put their weight behind Kyoto. But if we want to achieve significant progress, others must also do their bit," said Mr McKinnon.
"The coming into force of the Kyoto Protocol is also great news for low-lying island states like Maldives and Tuvalu, which face the threat of being submerged in 50 years' time. Our choices today will affect the way people live in the future. We owe it to future generations to face up to our responsibilities today."
When the Commonwealth leaders met in Abuja, Nigeria, in December 2003, they stressed that climate change was one of the greatest challenges facing Commonwealth countries and the wider international community. They pledged to continue their efforts to reduce the severity of climate change, and provide technical assistance to help small island states and other vulnerable countries to adapt to climate change and sea-level rise. The leaders also supported the efforts under the Convention to Combat Desertification and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation to address climate and drought concerns, particularly in Africa.
CNIS - the Commonwealth News and Information Service Issue 222 16 February 2005