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Item #d97dec59

Delegates reached a last-minute agreement on targets and timetables for reducing emissions of six greenhouse gases at the climate summit in Japan in December 1997. Differing targets apply to different developed countries for reducing CO2 emissions below 1990 levels by the year 2012. The European Union is committed to an eight percent reduction, the U.S. seven percent, and Japan six percent. Standing at the other extreme is Australia, which may increase emissions eight percent. Overall, the decrease required from developed countries represents a 30 percent reduction from the expected level around 2012 under a "business as usual" scenario. Developing countries are not committed to any reductions. Many details are yet to be settled, such as how developed countries will be able to trade emission credits.

Further details on the agreement will appear in the January 1998 News section, along with references. Following is some of the extensive background material published just before the start of the meeting:

Item #d97dec60

Nature, Nov. 20, 1997, and the November issue of Environment have background and opinion pieces on Kyoto and climate change; several of the papers in Professional Publications are also from those issues.

Item #d97dec61

Environ. Sci. & Technol. (November) and Eos, Trans. Amer. Geophys Union (Dec. 2) both have background features on Kyoto.

Item #d97dec62

Chem. Eng. News (Nov. 17) has a major background article (pp. 8-16) and an editorial (p. 3); an editorial in the Nov. 20 issue discusses objectivity in covering the views of climate skeptics.

Item #d97dec63

New Scientist has opinion and news articles Dec. 6 (pp. 4 and 51), Nov. 29 (pp. 22-23), and Nov. 15 (p. 54).

Item #d97dec64

Time has a summit preview Dec. 8 (pp. 79-80), and a related feature on renewable energy Dec. 15 (pp. 60-65).

Item #d97dec65

See the official U.N. Web site (, or Global Change Electronic Edition (

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