The Kyoto Protocol treaty has now entered into force for the 126 nations who have joined it so far. Now is the time to start thinking about how to engage all nations, including large emitters, in conversations about what to do after the treaty’s expiration in 2012. This is exactly what the European Commission did recently by providing its first strategy for a post-Kyoto era, which will be discussed by the European Council next March.
While the Kyoto Protocol represents only a modest reduction of carbon emissions in industrialized countries – 5.2% between 2008-2012 relative to 1990 levels, with varying targets for individual countries – real progress can be made in sustaining development efforts and preserving our planet.
But first, all countries must integrate climate concerns into policy planning, and improve their governance in key sectors such as energy, infrastructure, and transport. In other words, we must act in accordance with the recognition that climate change and its effects on people in both rich and poor countries remains a threat to global security.