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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 #d97jan100

At an early December 1996 meeting, EU environment ministers failed to agree on new climate treaty targets to propose at the AGBM session in Geneva. Targets discussed for reducing CO2 emissions ranged up to 10 percent by the year 2005 and 20 percent by the year 2010, from 1990 levels. (See Intl. Environ. Rptr., pp. 1089-1090, Dec. 11, 1996.) One sticking point is how to calculate emissions; France has proposed a per-capita calculation rather percentage reductions. Another, longer-standing difficulty is "burden sharing": the southern EU countries believe that the northern, more industrial states should bear a higher reduction in emissions.

The European Commission has calculated that the EU will only be able to cut its CO2 emissions by five percent before 2005, but a 30 percent cut in methane emissions could be achieved at little cost. Critics argue that the methane reduction sounds good, but methane accounts for only 18 percent of the human contribution to the greenhouse effect. (See New Scientist, p. 10, Dec. 7, 1996.)

Last fall, a European Environment Agency report calculated that industrialized countries including the EU must reduce emissions of greenhouse gas by 30-55% below 1990 levels by 2010. (See Chem. & Industry, p. 822, Nov. 4, 1996, and Reports/Policy, this Global Climate Change Digest issue--Jan. 1997.)

An unpublished study conducted for the German government concludes that its pledge to reduce CO2 emissions 25 percent by 2005 will cost more than 270,000 jobs. (See Intl. Environ. Rptr., pp. 1110-1111, Dec. 11, 1996.)

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