Al Gore Seeks Earlier Start to Kyoto Pact Successor
COPENHAGEN -- Former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore called on Tuesday for Kyoto countries to bring forward by two years the start date of a new global warming treaty, to 2010, given the urgency of the global warming problem.
The Kyoto Protocol ties some 35 industrialised countries to 5 percent emissions cuts from 1990 levels by 2012, and the signatories to the pact are currently negotiating a successor.
The United States pulled out of the pact on the basis of the possible costs and job losses, but climate change campaigner Al Gore said the next U.S. president, to be installed in 2009, could push for the country's inclusion in a new treaty.
"If we were to move to a 2010 start the energies of the American political system could (complete) this within the first two years of the president's term," he said.
Gore cited scientists' warnings that the world has just 10 years to curb rising carbon emissions.
"Do we want to take five of those 10 years and wait for the United States and China?" he asked. China has ratified the present Kyoto Protocol but does not face emissions limits.
Gore saw a groundswell of opinion demanding action in the United States.
"The political system can cross a tipping point, shift gears and move rapidly. I believe the United States is getting much closer to the adoption of constraints on carbon."
Gore said he thought a new pact would have to change its name from Kyoto, to get over past U.S. opposition.
"I personally believe the Kyoto brand has become so demonised in the States ... that ratification in the Senate will be extremely difficult (under that name)," he told carbon market professionals at a conference organised by analysts PointCarbon in Copenhagen.
A new global warming treaty would have to elevate countries like China and India to the status of developed countries under certain conditions at some point after the new treaty came into force, he said.
Developing countries do not face emissions caps under Kyoto, and that has been one of the stumbling blocks to U.S. involvement.
"You have to find a way to recognise that China is not simply a developing country," he said.