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Sunday, Feb. 18, 2007

Local leaders OK post-Kyoto plan


Staff writer

KYOTO -- More than 100 local government leaders from 26 nations agreed Saturday to an ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

"Under the Kyoto Climate Action Declaration, we call on all nations to move urgently to negotiate targets for the second commitment period (post-2012) of a 30 percent reduction by 2020 and 80 percent reduction by 2050 (in greenhouse gas emissions)," said Kyoto Mayor Yorikane Masumoto, whose city is hosting the Kyoto Conference on Climate Change.

The declaration also urges national governments to cut reliance on fossil fuels by setting favorable frameworks for renewable energy, energy efficiency, conservation technologies and integrated, multi-modal transportation systems.

The local governments participating in the conference are part of an organization called the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives -- Local Governments for Sustainability.

Members set environmental sustainability goals, including greenhouse gas reduction targets, for local governments independent of what their national governments are doing. About 75 percent of ICLEI members are from developed countries.

The group's leaders admitted the Kyoto Climate Action Declaration contains ambitious targets, but the growing worldwide environmental crisis due to global warming demands the highest possible goals, they said.

"It's easy to set the bar low. But we wanted to set targets that will actually help curb greenhouse gas emissions," said ICLEI President David Cadman, who is also a city councilor from Vancouver, British Columbia.

Getting more participation from local governments in developing countries will require greater assistance on the part of current members in areas like helping to facilitate environmental technology transfers between developed and developing countries, officials said.

"In essence, we're going to have to ensure that developing countries skip a generation of technology development and have access to the latest technologies that curb greenhouse gas emissions," Cadman said.

The conference will conclude Sunday with further discussion on how local governments can meet the goals set forth in the declaration.



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