Wednesday

1st Dec 2021

EU and US could unite on post-Kyoto treaty, says Al Gore

  • Al Gore says the EU and US may get closer on climate change in the future (Photo: Lisbon Council)

US ex-vice president Al Gore has said he understands Europe's frustration over his country's reluctance to ratify the Kyoto protocol on climate change - but insisted that both superpowers could still unite over the issue as support for green goals is rising across the US.

Speaking in Brussels on Sunday (8 October) and presenting Belgium's premiere of his global-warming documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," Mr Gore pointed out that despite the EU's leadership, the bloc still has a lot to do - in terms of energy saving and reducing CO2 emissions - to face "by far the most serious crisis that we have ever faced."

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In line with the scientific research highlighted in his movie, Mr Gore suggested the world is currently going through a "full-scale planetary emergency."

"Our planet has a fever. And the fever has been going steadily higher and it's not going away," he added.

"I understand your frustration over the fact that the US had taken the wrong path," on this subject he said, referring to the current Republican administration's opposition to the Kyoto treaty as the country's "moral lapse."

EU environment commissioner Stavros Dimas, also present at the event co-organised by the Brussels-based think tank the Lisbon Council, noted that the world needed "the full involvement" of the most powerful country.

"A crucial next step will be for the United States to realise that it is in their own interest to lead the fight against climate change," he said, adding that he wished Europeans could vote in the US presidential elections to influence the country's policies that affect the globe.

The Brussels-based audience gave a loud cheer to Mr Dimas' comment referring back to the 2000 presidential elections when Mr Gore, under the Democrat administration of Bill Clinton, lost to his Republican competitor, the current president George W. Bush.

Mr Gore - who presents himself as someone who "used to be the next US president" in the movie - said there is now a growing support for the commitments of the Kyoto protocol in his country despite White House opposition.

This support includes nine states and over 300 cities that have opted to follow its goals sparking hope that a future US administration will join other nations either on Kyoto or its successor global treaty, according to Mr Gore.

The EU is responsible for around 14 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions today and its 15 "old" member states have committed to reducing them by 8 percent below 1990 levels until 2012.

This target has been translated into specific legally binding instruments for the EU countries.

By the end of 2003, emissions from the EU-15 were down 1.7% below 1990 levels while combined emissions from all 25 member states stood 8% lower, according to the European Commission.

Old EU states risk failing Kyoto targets

Most of the EU's 15 old member states will have a hard time reaching their 2012 Kyoto targets - designed to curb greenhouse gas emissions and global warming - new projections say.

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