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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 #d94sep103

Following is an update of developments on topics related to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Geneva meeting: The 10th session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (Aug. 22-Sep. 2) was dominated by discussion on the adequacy of present commitments to reduce greenhouse gases under the convention. However, no actions were taken on this topic nor on joint implementation. The next INC meeting will be held in February in New York City. For general accounts of the meeting see Intl. Environ. Rptr., pp. 719-720, Sep. 7 and pp. 691-692, Aug. 24; Global Environ. Change Rep., pp. 1-3, Sep. 9.

Adequacy of commitments: Several parties came to the meeting interested in strengthening the convention, which currently sets a goal for industrialized countries to stabilize emissions at 1990 levels by the year 2000, but does not address emissions after that date. New commitments would be made by passing a protocol to the existing framework convention. Proposals for protocols were to be submitted by Sep. 28 in order to be considered at the first Conference of Parties, scheduled for Berlin next March. Germany proposed such a protocol at the 10th INC meeting in August, with support from some European countries, the Alliance of Small Island States, and several nongovernmental organizations, but with general opposition from developing countries. The U.S. and the European Union were "lukewarm" to the proposal (ibid., p. 1). For discussion of the German proposal see the general references cited above, and Intl. Environ. Rptr., pp. 785-786, Aug. 26; New Scientist, p. 7, Sep. 3.

Joint implementation: Joint implementation between two countries of projects for reducing greenhouse gas levels has been a contentious issue, but remained in the background at Geneva. The latest issue of Climate Change Bulletin (published quarterly by the Info. Unit on Clim. Change, UNEP, CP 356, 1219 Ch√Ętelaine, Switz.) contains articles discussing joint implementation in relation to sustainable development, North-South cooperation, and the contributions of businesses. Extensive discussion also appears in Global Environ. Change Rep. (pp. 1-3, Sep. 23) and Energy, Econ. & Clim. Change (pp. 4-5, Sep.).

National plans: OECD countries that have ratified the climate treaty were to submit for review by Sep. 21 national action plans for meeting their commitments. Over the past few months, several analyses have begun to question whether various developed countries will be able to meet those commitments. This topic has been discussed generally in Eos, pp. 377, Aug. 16 (a weekly of the American Geophysical Union), and elsewhere in relation to certain individual countries, such as the U.S. (Energy, Econ. & Clim. Change, pp. 7-9 and 10-11, June; Global Environ. Change Rep., pp. 1-3, Aug. 12), Japan (Nature, p. 405, Aug. 11; Intl. Environ. Rptr., p. 667, Aug. 10; Global Environ. Change Rep., p. 3, Aug. 26), the U.K. (Intl. Environ. Rptr., p. 622, July 27), and Austria (ibid., p. 704, Aug. 24).

Note: The Center for Environmental Information (publisher of GCCD) has organized a conference in Washington Nov. 30-Dec. 2, timed to evaluate national action plans prior to the first Conference of Parties. (See Calendar.)

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