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A campaign to put pressure on governments to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change was launched yesterday, 7 February, by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

The ‘Go for Kyoto’ campaign will target 25 industrialised countries — including the 15 members of the European Union, Russia, Japan and Canada — that are widely seen as key to turning the Protocol into international law. Ratification by at least 55 countries is required before the treaty comes into force.

“It’s now up to the 25 countries on WWF’s Kyoto ‘hit list’ to listen to their citizens, their businesses and their common sense and decide that we will beat global warming rather than be beaten by it,” says Jennifer Morgan, director of the campaign.

The United States, however, is not on the list. It may be seen as an impractical target, having pulled out of international climate change negotiations last year.

‘Go for Kyoto’ will run for 200 days until 26 August — the start of the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg — when a statement adopted by ministerial representatives at the end of the latest climate change meeting in Marrakech will be presented to world leaders.

WWF have also released a new report on global warming and species loss to coincide with the launch of the campaign. The report warns that climate change could have a devastating effect on the ‘crown jewels’ of nature — areas where the Earth’s biological wealth is most distinctive and rich — in the coming decades.

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