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Item #d97apr45

Dissension prevailed again at the latest climate negotiating session held in Bonn, but this time it focused on proposals by the European Union and the U.S. The EU proposal, developed just before the start of the session, broke a deadlock among EU countries. EU environment ministers agreed to propose a 15 percent cut in annual greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by the year 2010. But even more significant was an agreement on how to apportion the burden of meeting this goal within the Union. Commitments of the member states would range from a 30 percent reduction (Luxembourg) to an allowance for a 40 percent increase (Portugal).

At the latest negotiations, the U.S. and Australia opposed the EU proposal. The U.S., which favors a more flexible approach (see Global Climate Change Digest NEWS, Feb. 1997), was also at odds with developing countries because it has proposed that some of them limit emissions along with industrialized countries. Other issues dividing delegates include trading of emissions permits, joint implementation, and various schemes for flexibility in meeting commitments.

The Bonn meeting produced little in the way of general agreement, but proposals made to date will be translated into the U.N.'s six official languages and distributed by June 1, 1997, and are subject to further negotiation in meetings scheduled for August and October. The goal is to deliver a final proposal for adoption at the Third Conference of Parties (Dec. 1-10, 1997, Kyoto, Japan).

For more on the Bonn meeting and the latest EU agreement see New Scientist, p. 10, Mar. 15, 1997; Nature, p. 103, Mar. 13; Global Environ. Change Rep., pp. 1-2, Mar. 14; and Intl. Environ. Rptr., pp. 247-248, Mar. 19, and pp. 187-188 and 191, Mar. 5. Helpful background written before the Bonn meeting appears in New Scientist, pp. 12-13, Mar. 1; Global Environ. Change Rep., pp. 1-3, Mar. 14; and Chem. & Industry, p. 155, Mar. 3.

Official documentation is available from the UNFCCC Secretariat, POB 260124, D-53153 Bonn, Ger. (tel: 49 228 815 1000; fax: 49 228 815 1999; e-mail:; WWW:

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