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Global Climate Change Digest

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Item #d97jul75

Parties to the Climate Convention will meet in Kyoto, Japan, next December to decide on strict limits on greenhouse gas emissions for developed countries. But dissension among parties and within individual countries is leading some observers to question whether that will be the outcome.

Climate change was the hot topic at the annual summit of the G-7 nations (Denver, June 20-22, 1997), now labeled the Summit of the Eight because it includes Russia. But despite much sparring, the world's strongest countries could not agree on what to do about emission limits. (See Intl. Environ. Rptr., pp. 599-602, June 25, 1997.)

Immediately following the summit was Rio + 5, a special session of the U.N. General Assembly (New York, June 23-27) intended to review progress made on sustainable development since the 1992 Earth Summit. In general, the meeting underscored a lack of commitment to sustainable development goals that has become apparent since then. Climate change was again a major topic, and again there was much discussion but little decided. However, in a clear shift of position President Clinton pledged for the first time that the U.S. will agree to binding limits in Kyoto (without specifying any particular target), and said he would take action to convince the American people and the Congress that the climate change problem is "real and imminent."

In other climate-related developments at the meeting, the World Bank announced a program intended to help industrialized countries invest in greenhouse gas offsets in developing nations (Intl. Environ. Rptr., p. 666, July 9), and announced a new alliance with the World Wildlife Federation to protect world forests (ibid., p. 667). Also, a ministerial working group adopted a compromise plan for action on protecting world forests that focuses on implementing existing recommendations (ibid., p. 660), but does not close the door to a forest convention, which is favored by the European Union but opposed by the U.S. and many environmental groups.

Item #d97jul76

The following are general articles and comments on the negotiations leading to Kyoto:

"Beyond Hot Air: Will the World Adopt Strict Limits...?," R. Monastersky, Science News, pp. 320-321, May 24, 1997. A good summary of the major proposals.

"Negotiators Inch Toward Kyoto Proposal," Global Environ. Change Rep., pp. 1-3, June 27, 1997. Feature article.

Nature, pp. 640-641, June 12, 1997. Articles on the U.S. position, dissension within Japan's government on limits, and new moves by Britain to take a lead on climate.

"Seizing Global Warming as an Opportunity," ibid., p. 637. An editorial.

"Global Warming Faces Host of Political Clouds," Wall Street Journal, p. A20, May 2, 19977.

Item #d97jul77

Regarding Rio + 5: visit its Web site ( and see the following:

Intl. Environ. Rptr., pp. 659-662, July 9, 1997; pp. 602-604, June 25; and a pre-meeting analysis by L.M. Reifschneider, pp. 545-547, May 28.

Global Environ. Change Rep., pp. 1-3, July 11, 1997. Feature article.

"President of UN Summit 'Sobered' By Outcome," Nature, p. 5, July 3, 1997; also editorial on p. 1.

"World Bank Makes Green Appeal," Chem. & Industry, pp. 454-455, June 16, 1997. The Bank presented a top ten list of "green" actions, and called for more environmental funding.

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