EU Kyoto doubts go public

Officials are striking increasingly dissonant notes on the question of whether the EU should continue to support the Kyoto Protocol as a framework for UN agreements after 2012 if countries such as Japan, Russia and Canada maintain their opposition

Speaking at the Lisbon Council Eco-Innovation Summit in Brussels today (13 January), Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard passionately warned her colleagues that it was easier to see the weaknesses of the Kyoto Protocol than the contours of any replacement deal.

"One should not think that if we just got rid of [Kyoto], we could easily build something new," she said. "It took ten years to build all the details in the international set up that we have now."

"That's why we say: 'Take care! Yes, it's very difficult to get an international legally binding deal. Yes, there are many charges to the Kyoto Protocol, but take care not to throw out what we have got already, unless you are sure that you can get something to replace it'."

Yesterday (12 January), Jos Debleke, director-general of the European Commission's climate department, gave a flavour of the debate now taking place behind closed doors when he said the EU needed a "reflection period" before deciding whether to back Kyoto in the future.


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