Iceland Could Owe Billions Due to Unfulfilled Commitments to Kyoto Protocol

Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson

Iceland faces possible expenditures of billions ISK (1,000,000,00 ISK – 7,190,623$, 6,117,330€) for not having fulfilled its commitments to the Kyoto protocol, RÚV reports. According to Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, a team is working on estimating what Iceland’s exact debt is when the commitment period is up at the end of this year.

The 1997 Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty meant to decrease the emission of greenhouse gasses and counteract climate change. Despite getting a special provision which allowed increased emission from large scale industry, Iceland hasn’t fulfilled its commitments. The Kyoto Protocol commitment period is up by the end of the year and it will be time to settle the debt.

“It’s not clear how much it will be. It’s being looked into. There are a few possible ways to respond to this. A team is currently working on it,” Guðmundur said after the Government meeting today. “But I am making it very clear that this is what happens when climate issues aren’t taken seriously. Our current government is taking them seriously and has a credible plan for 2030 to uphold the Paris Agreement. We expect no less than we’ll do our duty there.”

Is not paying an option for Iceland? “We’ll fulfil our commitments, that’s clear. It’s left to see how much it is and in what way this will be done,” replied Guðmundur Ingi.

Guðmundur Ingi is not willing to censure earlier governments but says: “I would have liked to see this differently, that’s for sure. The main thing is that we’re now dealing with climate issues. We have a credible plan to fulfil our commitment for 2030.”

Vigdís Finnbogadóttir Awarded at Women Leaders Forum

Vigdís Finnbogadóttir

Former President of Iceland Vigdís Finnbogadóttir has received the 2020 POWER, TOGETHER Award for her role in making the pink ribbon the globally-recognised symbol of breast cancer. Former US Diplomat Nancy G. Brinker, a breast cancer awareness advocate, is the other recipient of the award this year. The award was (virtually) presented to Vigdís today during this month’s Reykjavík Global Forum Women Leaders conference.

Breast Cancer Survivor

Vigdís was the first woman to be democratically elected as a Head of State in the world. She served as Iceland’s President from 1980-1996. Today she remains the longest-serving elected female head of state of any country.

Vigdís was a single mother and ran for president not long after surviving breast cancer. During her campaign, she was asked many personal questions, for example whether having just one breast would hamper her ability to lead the country. Her powerful response was “I never planned to breastfeed the nation.”

Global Forum Champions Women Leaders

According to a press release from Women Political Leaders, the organisation behind the POWER, TOGETHER Awards, they “recognise women for their distinguished commitments to set aside differences and come together to ensure a better future, because no sustainable change can be reached in isolation.”

The Reykjavík Global Forum was launched in November 2018 in Reykjavík, Iceland. This year the forum features Hillary Clinton, former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and current WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The Forum is co-hosted by Women Political Leaders (WPL) and the Government and Parliament of Iceland.