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Thu, May 03, 2001 - Page 2 News List

US urged to rethink Kyoto pact

DISSENT Lawmakers and environmentalists say the US' decision to abandon the climate treaty to curb greenhouse gas emissions endangers future generations

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Legislators from the Association of Sustainable Development hold a letter entitled ``Don't leave too much burden to our children'' in front of the American Institute in Taiwan yesterday morning. The letter urges the George W. Bush administration to reverse its decision to abandon the Kyoto Protocol.

PHOTO: CHIANG YING-YING, TAIPEI TIMES

Legislators urged the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) yesterday to forward a letter to the White House urging US President George W. Bush to reverse his decision to abandon the Kyoto Protocol.

The Kyoto Protocol is a UN climate pact which requires major industrialized nations to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants by an average of 5.2 percent below 1990 emissions levels before 2012.

On March 29, the US announced it had effectively abandoned the pact on the grounds that it does not force developing countries to curb emissions and because Bush said the plan is not in the economic interests of the US.

Bush's decision to kill the protocol angered not only many European countries but also developing countries as well.

Concerned about sustainable development on the planet, legislators from the Association of Sustainable Development (永續發展促進會) and environmentalists from the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (台灣環保聯盟) yesterday asked the AIT to forward a letter to Bush titled "Don't leave too much burden to our children."

Legislators, including independents Josephine Chu (朱惠良), Liao Hsueh-kuang (廖學廣) and Eugene Jao (趙永清), and DPP legislators Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) and Wang Lie-ping (王麗萍), told AIT officials yesterday that it was regrettable that Bush had openly opposed the Kyoto targets.

Concerning greenhouse gas emissions by various countries, "the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change does emphasize its principle of equal but differentiated responsibilities in regulation," Chu read from the letter at the AIT.

Although developing countries are not bound by the pact, the legislators said that those countries would eventually participate.

Taiwan, as a non-UN member, is not bound by the protocol. But, to avoid any economic sanctions by the international community, Taiwan has been mapping out its own policies in conjunction with international trends in global environmental protection over the last 10 years.

The beginning of such action was prompted in part by the 1987 Montreal Protocol, an international agreement controlling the production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances, such as CFCs, which are used in refrigerators, aerosol propellants and solvents.

To shoulder the responsibilities of preserving natural re-sources with other countries for future generations, Taiwan decided in 1999 to reduce its total emissions of carbon dioxide to 297 million tonnes from an estimated 501 million tonnes by 2020.

Legislators said yesterday that they hoped that the US would come up with innovative strategies to shoulder the responsibility of protecting the planet rather than dismissing the Kyoto Protocol.

William Weinstein, chief of the AIT's economic section received the letter from the legislators. Wienstein however declined yesterday to speak to the media on the issue.

Officials at the AIT public relations office said that the letter would be forwarded as soon as possible to the White House through normal channels but they did not know how long the process would take.

The AIT had no other comment on the letter, explaining that it was addressed to the White House and not their office.

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