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[Luxembourg 2005 Presidency of the Council of the European Union]
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You are here : Home > News > Speeches > February 2005 > Statement by Lucien Lux, Luxembourg Minister for the Environment and President of the Environment Council of the European Union, on the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol
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Statement by Lucien Lux, Luxembourg Minister for the Environment and President of the Environment Council of the European Union, on the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol

Date of Speech : 16-02-2005

Place : Bruxelles

Speaker : Lucien Lux

Policy area : Environment Environment

Lucien Lux, Luxembourg Minister for the Environment and current President of the Environment Council of the European Union, made the following statement upon the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol:

 Commissioner Dimas,

 Mr Florence, of the European Parliament,

 Ladies and Gentlemen,

 The entry into force of the Kyoto protocol is an important moment for all people and for future generations.

For the first time, we have a binding legal framework and an instrument for reducing greenhouse gases in industrialised countries. The entry into force is an unambiguous statement that the international community takes climate change seriously. In the name of the 25 Member States of the European Union, I invite all developed countries that have not yet ratified the Protocol to do so and join in these efforts to reduce CO2 emissions.

 I am appealing to the United States in particular. Next week’s visit by the American president will be an excellent opportunity to make this appeal.

 There is no question about the will of the European Union, but additional measures will be necessary if we are to reach our Kyoto objective.

 The global climate is changing. Of this there is no doubt. We have already seen warning signs all around the world: we have had interminable droughts, torrential rains, flooding and terrible storms!

 Temperatures could rise from 1.4°C to 5.8°C by the year 2100, with harmful affects on our ecosystems, on food production, on biodiversity, on our economies, and on humanity.

 If we just allow the climate to change without undertaking any remedial action, the economic impact and the price that will be paid in terms of human suffering will be dramatic – both in Europe and in the rest of the world, and above all in the least developed countries. If we want to limit irreversible damage, climate change has to be slowed, even stopped. We must therefore act quickly. Mitigation measures are the cornerstone of any battles against climate change. The consequences of inaction are enormous, and it will become increasingly difficult to adapt to climate change.

 We should bear in mind that in the near future even more drastic reductions in global emissions of greenhouse gases will be necessary. This means that we need a global approach that should include broad participation by many countries to arrive at a post-2012 (post-Kyoto) framework that is efficient from an environmental and economic point of view, and that is socially equitable, and that takes into account common, but differentiated, responsibilities and the respective capabilities of each country.

 For its part, the European Union has reaffirmed that to realise the final objective of the framework convention, the increase in the average annual global surface temperature should not exceed pre-industrial levels by more than 2°C. If this long-term temperature objective is to be realised, global greenhouse gas emissions must peak within two decades and then diminish considerably before falling, by the year 2050, to a level on the order of at least 15%, maybe even 50%, less than those recorded in 1990.

 Therefore, Europe has two inseparable objectives:

 Make future objectives absolutely clear and unequivocal, and broaden the participation of countries.

 The European Council of Heads of State and Government will also have the opportunity, in their March meeting, to consider strategies and future objectives for the reduction of greenhouse gases.

 Thus, the European Union needs to become more involved this year with all the Parties to the Convention, in a shared and open dialogue focussed on future actions.

This page was last modified on : 16-02-2005

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