February 18, 2005

Students Celebrate Kyoto Victory

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Yesterday on Ho Plaza members of Kyoto Now! stood beside a large pile of coal armed with cookies and quarter cards. Their purpose was to raise awareness about the U.S.’s refusal to join the Kyoto protocol.

Sara Facci ’05, the group’s webmaster, explained that Kyoto Now! is an environmental group concerned with retrofitting older buildings with energy-saving technology. Examples of such technology are better insulation and switching over from incandescent to fluorescent lighting.

The Kyoto Protocol is an agreement among the countries of the United Nations to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Many within the scientific community believe that such gases cause global warming, although the theory is still hotly contested. In order to make the law binding for other countries, either the U.S or Russia had to join the protocol. Russia eventually did.

According to Kenny Sauer ’08, vice president of Kyoto Now!, the U.S. had begun the ratification process for the protocol, but later pulled out. Kyoto Now! says it is time to raise awareness and let people know that the U.S. burns 1,095,000,000 tons of coal per year as noted by the Department of Energy and displayed on one of the group’s signs.

“We are trying to get people to understand that we emit 25 percent of carbon dioxide emissions. We should be the ones that are definitely in [the protocol],” said Sauer. Facci, Sauer and other members of the group were on Ho Plaza from about 10:30 to 2 p.m. The group’s quarter cards stated “The Kyoto Protocol is now International Law in 128 countries! Why not US? Be aware.”

Kyoto Now also stated on that cards that Bush took the United States out of the Kyoto Protocol because he fears protocol will negatively impact fossil fuel industries and the U.S economy in general.

Although the cards conceded that the protocol would indeed cause a strain on companies that produce gas, coal and oil, they said that the protocol would benefit those companies that continue to research and create products related to renewable energy technologies.

At the end of the day the group left Ho Plaza hoping they had raised a few eyebrows towards the issue of global warming and the U.S.’s refusal to be a part of the possible Kyoto solution. The group believes ratifying the Kyoto Protocol will slow the extinction of many species and decrease our reliance on fossil fuels.

Kyoto Now! provided no immediate way of protesting against the U.S.’s non-involvement in the protocol, but encouraged others to contact their local congressman to let their concerns be heard.

Archived article by Ikea Hamilton