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Stop gambling with planet's future and save Kyoto

Dumping the world’s only legal agreement on fighting climate change would be gambling with the future of the planet and the world’s poorest people, four major campaign groups warn today.  

Rich countries including the European Union and United States are trying to abandon the existing Kyoto Protocol, which requires them to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, and replace it with a new treaty which imposes obligations on all countries.

In a new briefing, Don’t Kill Kyoto, campaigners from Christian Aid, Friends of the Earth, the World Development Movement and CAFOD argue that the Kyoto Protocol must remain the cornerstone of any agreement made in Copenhagen this month.
Download Don't Kill Kyoto (pdf)

‘Rich countries must stop playing roulette with the future of the planet,’ says Eliot Whittington, Christian Aid’s Senior Adviser on climate justice. ‘Instead of trying to scrap the Kyoto Protocol, they should recognise that it is a strong foundation on which countries urgently need to base their new commitments to tackle climate change.

‘Furthermore, it is the only foundation we have – and because the world is warming so fast and people are already suffering as a result, there isn’t enough time to abandon it and build a completely new one.’

Don’t Kill Kyoto says that countries which have signed the Kyoto Protocol are legally obliged to negotiate a second commitment period to follow on from the current one, which expires in 2012.

It also stresses that it took the world years of international negotiations to secure the Protocol, which sets legally binding emissions targets for developed countries and also creates systems for ensuring the targets are fair and for checking whether countries are meeting them.

‘The science of climate change is clear on the urgency of action,’ says the briefing. ‘There are less than 10 years to secure a peak in global emissions….It is extremely unlikely that a new, detailed and effective legal architecture can be put together in the necessary timeframe.’

If Kyoto were to be abandoned, it adds, ‘all that could remain is countries taking action at a level that suited domestic circumstances – with inevitably disastrous consequences for all the world’s people and especially those in developing countries, where the poorest and most vulnerable people live.’

Media contacts:

Christian Aid: Rachel Baird on 07545 501 749 or email rbaird@christian-aid.org Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in nearly 50 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the life they deserve.

CAFOD: Pascale Palmer: 020 7095 5459 or 07785 950 585 and ppalmer@cafod.org.uk CAFOD is the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, working with communities in over 50 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, supporting people to find their own solutions to poverty. The agency works with all people regardless of race, gender, religion or nationality.

Friends of the Earth: Henry Rummins, 0207 566 1664 or 077 616 01 666 or henry.rummins@foe.co.uk Friends of the Earth believes the environment is for everyone. We want a healthy planet and a good quality of life for all those who live on it. We inspire people to act together for a thriving environment. We campaign on a range of issues including climate change, biodiversity, waste, transport and food. For further information visit www.foe.co.uk

WDM: Kate Blagojevic on 07711 875 345 and Kate.Blagojevic@wdm.org.uk  The World Development Movement (WDM) tackles the underlying causes of poverty. We lobby decision makers to change the policies that keep people poor. We research and promote positive alternatives. We work alongside people in the developing world who are standing up to injustice. www.wdm.org.uk 

Notes to editors

Climate change is already depriving poor people in many developing countries of their livelihoods.  Christian Aid believes that it must urgently be tackled, in order to help achieve a world free of poverty.  Our new drive, Poverty Over, explains what we believe needs to be done – and can be done – to end global poverty.  Details at www.christianaid.org.uk

Christian Aid is calling on Gordon Brown to press rich countries at the crucial UN climate change summit in Copenhagen in December to commit to at least 40 per cent reductions in carbon emissions by 2020.  It also wants the UK government, along with other industrialised countries, to commit to providing more than 110 billion Euros a year to developing countries, along with technology transfers, to enable them to develop in a low carbon way and adapt to climate change. Together with faith-based development agencies in a number of other European countries, we have launched a climate justice campaign called Countdown to Copenhagen. www.christianaid.org.uk/copenhagen

Christian Aid is a member of the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition, made up of more than 100 organisations with 11 million supporters.

Join ‘The Wave’  – expected to be the largest demonstration in support of climate justice the UK has ever seen. On Saturday December 5, just before the UN summit, an ecumenical service will be held in Central Hall, Westminster, by the Archbishops of Canterbury and Westminster. A carnival-style street procession through London organised by the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition will then take place. Tens of thousands of climate justice campaigners are expected to participate. www.stopclimatechaos.org/the-wave

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