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Australia: Activists Discuss World Boycott of U.S. Oil Firms

Associated Press
April 12th, 2001

CANBERRA -- Green groups from around the world were drawing up a global action plan Friday that could include boycotts of U.S. energy giants to force the United States to honor its Kyoto greenhouse gas reduction commitments.

The plan will be presented to a Global Greens 2001 conference being staged in Canberra over the Easter holiday weekend.

The conference, which has drawn about 700 delegates from 60 countries, is being billed as a world first for the Green movement.

"Groups are now working on a global action plan, which will be put to the conference later this weekend," said Stu Cook, a conference organizer.

Delegates said people around the world needed to increase pressure on the U.S. government and oil companies to improve efforts on global warming.

Such pressure could include boycotts of U.S. oil companies.

"I don't have (problems with) a worldwide boycott on American oil companies," said Pekka Haavisto, a senior official with the United Nations Environment Program and former Finnish environment minister.

U.S. President George W. Bush said last month Washington would not implement the Kyoto agreement on global warming because it did not include major developing nations who had heavy greenhouse emissions.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, which must be ratified by 55 nations to come into force, developed countries agreed to legally binding targets for curbing heat-trapping "greenhouse" gases, which are mainly carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels.

U.S. Association of State Green Parties representative Annie Goeke said Bush's decision had helped lift the profile of environmental issues.

She said most Americans, until the Kyoto decision, failed to understand the important role played by the United States in greenhouse gas emissions.

Bush "has finally woken up the American public," she said.

The conference will also try to agree on a Global Greens Charter that will spell out key principles such as ecological sustainability, peace and disarmament, and economic and social justice to guide Greens groups around the world.

Conference host, Australian Greens Sen. Bob Brown, said a major aim of the conference was to establish a network of Green groups as a balance to corporate globalization.

"With Greens parties in coalition government across Europe and the Greens on the rise around the world we are the emerging alternative to economic rationalism," Brown said.

"We want the power of charting the future to be in elected parliaments, not the World Trade Organization and large transnational corporations," he said.

Guest speakers will include French Environment Minister Dominique Voynet, the co-leader of the European Parliament's Green Group, Paul Lannoye, and Pekka Haavisto.

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