23rd Jan 2019

Commisson split on Kyoto Protocol

  • Loyola de Palacio - not afraid to speak her mind (Photo: European Commission)

The European Commission's united front on the Kyoto Protocol on climate change has once again been undermined by transport Commissioner Loyola de Palacio.

Ms Palacio, well known for her strong views, told the Financial Times that the EU should look at other ways of achieving its goals of reducing greenhouse emissions.

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"Should we maintain our position or not? Maybe there are no alternatives. But I think there are alternatives".

"We should look at other ways of achieving our goal - to reduce emissions - while maintaining the competitiveness of our industry".

Following her comments the Commission released a press statement reaffirming its commitment to the Protocol which says that the EU must reduce its levels of emissions by 8% between 2008 and 2012.

"The European Commission strongly rejects all calls to change its position concerning the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and its full implementation by the European Union", says the statement.

Commission President Romano Prodi said "The Protocol represents a significant first step towards realizing the goal of stabilizing atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases at safe levels. We cannot and we will not back down in the fight against human induced climate change".

Not the first time

This is not the first time the Spanish Commissioner has been ambivalent about the climate change Protocol - although she says she supports it goals.

Following comments in the same vein towards the end of last year, the Commission was also forced to release a press statement in support of Kyoto.

Her views are likely to rile both environment groups and the environment Commissioner Margot Wallström, but the energy Commissioner remains unfazed.

"I cannot shut up when confronted with a big problem, especially one that falls into my direct responsibility. Energy is my direct responsibility".

Ms Palacio's statements come at a time when the EU is hoping that Russia will sign the Protocol and thus ensure that it reaches the threshold of countries representing 55% of emissions for it to go into effect.

The other big producer of greenhouse gases, the United States, has already said it will not sign the treaty.


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