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Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999



Item #d90jun90

Sparks flew at the April 1990 White House Conference on Science and Economic Research Related to Global Change, according to several published accounts. The environmental, energy and economic ministers who attended--from 18 nations, the European Community and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development--were irritated because they were denied the opportunity to speak in the plenary sessions. Instead, they listened to President George Bush and other Administration officials emphasize the scientific uncertainties of global warming. This situation, and others described in the articles listed below, created the impression among many that the affair was intended more for show than for development of policy.

European Community officials released a position paper urging immediate development of an effective policy response, including a protocol for carbon dioxide emission reductions and protection of tropical forests. West Germany's environment minister said he would propose a 25-percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions in his country by the year 2005. In one working group, U.S. staff distributed a 12-page document containing resolutions for the creation of new international institutions for scientific and economic research related to global change, creation of an information exchange network, and principles for international cooperation. European delegates objected to its tone and method of presentation, and the document was withdrawn by U.S. participants who described its distribution as an error. President Bush's closing remarks quelled the unrest somewhat when he stated that the United States never considered research a substitute for action, and offered to host the first session to negotiate a climate convention, possibly this fall.

"Global-Change Meeting: U.S. Stance Attacked As Too Narrow," P. Zurer, Chem. Eng. News, p. 4, Apr. 23, 1990.

"Diplomatic Squalls Spoil U.S. Climate Conference," G. Anderson, Nature, p. 799, Apr. 26; editorial, pp. 797-798.

"Climate Extravaganza Bombs," L. Roberts, Science, p. 436, Apr. 27.

"U.S. Fails in Bid to Play Down Global Warming Threat," C. Joyce, New Scientist, p. 30, Apr. 28; editorial p. 27.

"International Meeting Yields Debate--," Intl. Environ. Rptr., pp. 201-202, May. Includes discussion of the positions taken by the EC, the Netherlands, West Germany, Poland, France, Norway, India, Japan and Canada.

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