It’s official: All 15 nations of the European Union have ratified the Kyoto Protocol, solidifying their commitment to combat climate change and highlighting the difference between European and U.S. environmental politics. The ratification was formalized during a ceremony held this morning at United Nations headquarters in New York City. E.U. Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom called the mass ratification “an historic moment” and in virtually the same breath chastised the U.S. for failing to participate. “The United States is the only nation to have spoken out against and rejected the global framework for addressing climate change. The European Union urges the United States to reconsider its position,” Wallstrom said. With the E.U. ratification, the Kyoto Protocol came significantly closer to taking effect; for that to happen, 55 countries representing 55 percent of developed nations’ carbon dioxide emissions must ratify. Altogether, 70 nations representing 26.6 percent of First World emissions have ratified so far. Japan’s parliament gave its approval to ratification today and the Japanese cabinet is expected to give its final okay next week. Russia and New Zealand are expected to follow suit soon.

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