Supplementary memorandum from the Deputy
Prime Minister and Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport
and the Regions
CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE KYOTO PROTOCOL
1. This memorandum sets out the Government's
strategy for the climate change negotiations in the light of the
US Administration's position on the Kyoto Protocol.
2. President Bush has said that he opposes
the Kyoto Protocol, on the grounds that it would harm the US economy
and requires insufficient action by developing countries. The
United States has ratified the UN FCCC and signed the Kyoto Protocol
but has not ratified Kyoto. President Bush has ordered a review
of US policy with the aim of developing alternative proposals
for addressing climate change. We understand that the Administration
hopes to complete this review before the resumed Sixth Conference
of the Parties (COP6) to the UN FCCC in Bonn in July, though they
have given no firm undertakings in this regard.
3. The Government has made it clear that,
notwithstanding the US position, we continue to believe that the
Kyoto Protocol provides the best framework for dealing with climate
change. This is a global problem which requires a global agreement.
Kyoto was the result of years of multilateral negotiations, and
it could take years to negotiate an alternative. Any agreement
would require caps on emissions and, to be negotiable, that developed
countries act first. Concerns about costs can be addressed through
the Kyoto framework, which offers a number of flexibilities, including
the Kyoto mechanisms, sinks and the six-gas basket.
Position of other countries
4. I have recently returned from New York,
where I had four days of intensive bilateral contacts on climate
change, including meetings with the US, Canada, Japan, Australia,
Russia, Iran, China, India, Brazil and South Africa, plus discussions
with EU colleagues. I also attended high-level consultations chaired
by Jan Pronk, the Dutch Chairman of COP6, in which Ministers from
about 35 key countries participated. There was universal regret
at the US position on Kyoto. Everyone with the exception of the
US supported the Kyoto Protocol as the way forward and wanted
to continue working for an agreement within the Kyoto framework.
I hope that other Umbrella Group countries in particular will
also use their influence to encourage the US to re-engage.
5. Those discussions in New York served
to reinforce my view that we should continue to work for a successful
outcome at the resumed COP6 in July which will enable the UK and
other countries to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, with a view to securing
its entry into force by 2002.
Influencing the US
6. We are, of course, keen to maintain a
constructive dialogue with the US since it is important that they
remain engaged in global efforts to tackle climate change. We
are making full use of all existing bilateral channels to influence
the US policy review. We want to hear the views and ideas of the
US Administration as to how emission reductions might be achieved,
but that does not alter our view that the Kyoto Protocol is the
right way forward. We obviously cannot predict what proposals
the US may put on the table, but we continue to believe that any
suggestion that developing countries should take on targets in
the short term would be unnegotiable. We also note that developing
countries are taking significant action to limit the growth in
their emissions without formal targets.
Jan Pronk's revised proposals
7. Jan Pronk has made it clear that he intends
to continue to seek agreement on the detailed rules for implementing
the Kyoto Protocol at the resumed COP6 in July. To that end he
has recently published revised compromise proposals, based on
the package which he proposed in The Hague. The revised proposals
include the following key changes:
Sinks: New rules on Article 3.4 sinks.
All sinks credits would be subject to an overall cap, with the
size of the cap varying according to whether the Party has an
emissions limitation or reduction target.
Sinks in the CDM: Certain sinks projects
would be eligible for the Clean Development Mechanism, but credits
would be subject to the overall cap mentioned above.
Supplementarity: developed countries would
be required to meet their commitments "chiefly" through
Developing country funding: Clarification
that $1 billion a year target for climate change funding for developing
countries would be additional to existing bilateral and multilateral
8. It is not possible for me to comment
in detail on Mr Pronk's new proposals without undermining the
Government's negotiating position. However, I believe that the
revised proposals represent a good basis for negotiation. We will
be consulting closely with other Parties in the run up to COP6
bis with a view to promoting a successful outcome. Mr Pronk has
also announced his intention to hold further high-level consultations
with key Parties prior to COP6 bis, and is currently exploring
the possibility of convening a meeting in Stockholm on 21 May.
9. The timetable for forthcoming international
meetings is now as follows:
|16-17 May||OECD Environment Ministers (Paris)
|21 May?||High-level consultations (Stockholm?)
|7-8 June||EU Environment Council (Luxembourg)
|14 June||EU-US summit (Gothenburg)
|15-16 June||European Council (Gothenburg)
|16-27 July||Resumed COP6 (Bonn)
|20-22 July||G8 Summit (Genoa)
|9 October||EU Environment Council (Brussels)
|29 Oct-9 Nov||COP7 (Marrakech)
10. The Government will seek to take advantage of all
appropriate opportunities over the coming months to engage with
the US and other Parties with a view to finding a way forward.
We are keen to make use of the EU-US Summit to explore areas of
common ground between the EU and US, and to consider how best
to handle COP6 bis. Similarly, Heads of Government may have a
role to play at the G8 Summit, which falls during the resumed
3 May 2001