On eve of Kyoto treaty, UN agency makes plug for gas-curbing public transport

9 February 2005

Just a week before the Kyoto anti-global warming treaty comes into force, the United Nations environmental agency is teaming up with an international public transportation group in a television campaign aimed at reducing the use of private cars – and their emissions of greenhouse gases.

Just a week before the Kyoto anti-global warming treaty comes into force, the United Nations environmental agency is teaming up with an international public transportation group in a television campaign aimed at reducing the use of private cars – and their emissions of greenhouse gases.

The campaign, consisting of an animated 30 second commercial with the theme "The world is your home. Look after it," stresses the advantages of using public transport, especially for the environment, and is the first joint project of its kind by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Association of Public Transport (UITP), a 120-year-old worldwide group of urban and regional passenger transport operators.

Total greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector are growing faster than from any other, and it is estimated to be responsible for 30 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions in Europe, where nearly half of transport trips in urban area are less than five kilometres.

The commercial, available in English, French, German and Spanish, is scheduled to run across a growing list of international stations such as BBC World, CNN International, CNBC, Bloomberg TV, National Geographic and Discovery Channel, starting tomorrow with EuroNews.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, which enters into force on 16 February, industrialized countries are to reduce their combined emissions of six major greenhouse gases during the five-year period from 2008 to 2012 to below-1990 levels. The European Union and Japan, for example, are to cut these emissions by 8 per cent and 6 per cent, respectively. For many countries, achieving the Kyoto targets will be a major change that will require new policies and new approaches.

Its entry into force was assured by Russia’s ratification in November, since 55 Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) must ratify it, including developed countries whose combined 1990 emissions of carbon dioxide exceed 55 per cent of that group’s total.

After President George W. Bush withdrew United States support for the Kyoto Protocol in 2001 Moscow’s ratification became vital as Russia, with 17 per cent of the emissions, now pushes the amount beyond that threshold for the Protocol to become legally binding on its 128 parties.

 

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