WASHINGTON, DC — Both the European Union (EU) and Japan have ratified the Kyoto Protocol, the international global warming agreement. Ratification took place on May 31 for the member nations of the EU and on June 4 for Japan.

Spanish Minister of Environment Jaume Matas, president of the Council of Ministers of Environment of the EU, stated that ratification “is not a simple administrative act, nor is it even political. Rather, it is the expression of the conviction of the millions of citizens of the European Union that the Kyoto Protocol is the best instrument available for working together to achieve our common goal.”

A statement by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Japan’s acceptance noted, “The Kyoto Protocol is an extremely significant first step in strengthening international actions against climate change. I strongly hope that other countries will also expeditiously become parties to the Kyoto Protocol.”

He added, “It will by no means be easy for Japan to achieve the commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as stipulated … and it is necessary for the central and local governments, businesses, as well as the people to join forces with all their might to achieve the commitment.”

As of June 4, the United Nations indicated that 74 countries had ratified or accepted the Protocol representing 35.8% of emissions. The treaty must be accepted by countries representing 55% of emissions in order to take effect.

Asked about possible U.S. acceptance, President Bush reiterated, “I do not support the Kyoto treaty. The Kyoto treaty would severely damage the United States economy, and I don't accept that.

“I accept the alternative we put out — that we can grow our economy and, at the same time, through technologies, improve our environment.”

Publication date: 06/10/2002