Socialist International declares U.S. withdrawal from Kyoto Treaty to be unacceptable

3 April 2001

For the Socialist International, the abrupt decision by the Bush administration to withdraw the United States from the historic Kyoto Protocol on climate change is unacceptable. The unilateral abandonment of the treaty by Washington, after so many years of productive negotiations between nations, is short-sighted and self-serving, which is why it has sparked dismay and frustration throughout the world, including within the United States itself.

The UN-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently concluded that the climate is being altered more quickly than originally thought and that the threat of major environmental disruptions linked to global warming is actually greater. Washington cites economic reasons for its decision to reject Kyoto, yet the types of disaster predicted by scientists if climate change is not slowed could bankrupt nations and undermine the entire global economy.

The Socialist International is therefore determined to work to keep the Kyoto treaty alive. It will not be easy as the United States is the biggest producer of gases associated with global warming. But Washington has opted for isolation, at a time when growing numbers of people throughout the world are looking for leadership to ensure that the planet is protected for future generations.

The Socialist International has been a long and unwavering advocate of preserving the environment. It also remains a strong supporter of all global initiatives to ensure sustainable development and ecological balance, including the reinforcement of the North-South dimension on this key issue through greater cooperation and solidarity between industrialised and developing countries. Member parties of the International, which are active on every continent, have participated and contributed each step of the way, helping to overcome other obstacles that were once thought to be insurmountable.

The Socialist International therefore will not be deterred by the unfortunate turn in Washington and calls upon all other signatories to the Kyoto Protocol, as well as all concerned non-governmental organisations, to make every possible endeavour to ensure that the objectives of the treaty are achieved. Now more than ever is the time for revitalising and sustaining the global environmental effort.