Thursday, February 1, 2007

Chirac to Bush: Sign Kyoto or Else!

French President Chirac has reportedly warned US President Bush that the US must sign on to the Kyoto Protocol and the successor agreement (Kyoto expires in 2012), or face paying carbon taxes, according to the International Herald Tribune.

Chirac repeated his call for the creation of a global environment organization that would centralize about 500 international agreements on the environment and 18 international bodies and departments whose remit is environmental.

"The system is not efficient; it's a fragmented system," Chirac said. "We must have a UNOE — a UN organization for the environment — which would in some sense be the environmental conscience of the world and which would be capable of coordinated action."

He said such an organization would have the power to impose sanctions on member states and could be modeled on the World Health Organization.

Chirac spoke as scientists from around the world gathered in Paris to discuss an authoritative international report on climate change, portions of which will be released on Friday.

Critics of Chirac say that despite his environmental rhetoric, his record as president is far from green. Chirac angered environmentalists when he conducted nuclear tests in a Pacific atoll within months of coming into office in 1995. He has been a loyal ally of French farmers and their highly polluting sector, blocking several proposed Europewide reforms. Most recently, Brussels rejected a French national plan for allocating carbon-emission credits to businesses for being too generous.

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