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UN climate change conference

Australia ratifies the Kyoto Protocol - hope for a breakthrough on international climate negotiations in Bali

The conference started with a very good news since Australia will ratify the Kyoto Protocol. New Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, said that he had signed the "instrument of ratification" of the Kyoto Protocol today. Australia would become a full member of the Kyoto Protocol before the end of March 2008.

It will intensify pressure on the USA, now isolated among wealthy countries in rejecting the international global warming pact. Indeed, one of the main challenge will be to draw the United States, the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, into the process.

The U.N. says that an agreement should be concluded by 2009 in order to have a system in place in time (ready to function from 2013 onwards).

In order to give a different view on the Bali conference and to provide the latest news, we will launch a dedicated website on Bali the day of the international demonstrations on climate change, Saturday 8 December. It will cover the second week of the negotiations where ministers will join the other delegates. Our MEPs in Bali will report from the conference and keep you updated on the latest stand of the meetings.

Commenting on the opening of the United Nations conference on climate change in Bali today, Finnish Green MEP and vice-chair of the EP's Environment Committee Satu Hassi said:

"The window of opportunity to tackle climate change is fast closing. According to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, avoiding catastrophic climate change means limiting average global warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels. This requires global greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced by more than 50% by 2050. Global leaders meeting in must not waste this crucial opportunity.

"We urgently need an equitable, binding global agreement to reduce global emissions, which takes account of rich countries' overwhelming responsibility for those emissions. The decision by the Australian government, announced today, to ratify the Kyoto protocol augurs well for negotiations in Bali. Only one major stumbling block now remains in the developed world. Hopefully, the US will finally see sense, so we can take global action before it's too late."

Green MEPs Satu Hassi and Rebecca Harms will be part of the European Parliament delegation to the Bali conference. Visit www.stopclimatechange.net, from 8 December onwards, for a Green take on the Bali conference.

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