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Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999

FROM VOLUME 8, NUMBER 6, JUNE 1995

NEWS...
CLIMATE CONVENTION


Item #d95jun118

The following articles and opinion pieces appeared shortly before or after the Berlin meeting of the parties to the convention, March 28-April 7, which was summarized in last month's Global Climate Change Digest News. The articles that preceded the meeting contain still relevant background information.(See also PROF. PUBS./GEN. INTEREST/COMMENTARY, this Digest issue--June 1995.)

"Expectations Sink for First Meeting of Parties to Climate Treaty," P.S. Zurer, Chem. Eng. News, pp. 27-30, Mar. 13. An extensive and thorough analysis of the state of political and scientific concerns surrounding the convention.

"Getting Warmer: Looking for a Way out of the Climate Impasse," C. Flavin, O. Tunali, World Watch, pp. 10-19, Mar.-Apr. (Worldwatch Inst., 1776 Mass. Ave. NW, Washington DC 20036). Analyzes the current lack of momentum on the climate convention, and important circumstances in different parts of the world. Recommendations include financial penalties for countries that fail to meet year-2000 commitments, an international auditing mechanism, and a large venture fund for renewable energy projects.

"Time To Curb Immortal Gases," L. Cook, Chem. & Industry, p. 204, Mar. 6. Treaty members should consider control of fully fluorinated hydrocarbons, greenhouse gases that are produced by industrial processes and remain in the atmosphere indefinitely.

"Climate Treaty Heads for Trouble," F. Pearce, New Scientist, p. 4, Mar. 18. Of the top ten emitters of CO2, only Russia, Germany and Britain are expected to meet the stabilization target set for industrialized nations.

"Fiddling While Earth Warms," F. Pearce, ibid., pp. 14-15, Mar. 25. Analyzes factors responsible for the current greenhouse "backlash": most industrial nations will miss their targets, they are under pressure to reject further restrictions, and the IPCC science advisory body is under attack for alleged bias. One factor is "greenhouse fatigue" in the popular press, leading journalists to emphasize views contrary to the conventional wisdom.

"Climate Summit: Slippery Slopes Ahead," R. Monastersky, Science News, p. 183, Mar. 25. The U.S. and other countries will probably oppose setting strict emission limits at the Berlin meeting, reflecting the widespread disagreement both within the U.S. and throughout the world on how to address the greenhouse problem.

"Results of Climate Conference Draw Fire," P. Zurer, Chem. Eng. News, p. 7, Apr. 17. The disappointed parties include environmental groups, who wanted a specific protocol immediately, and industry representatives and the U.S. delegation, who lobbied against any change in the agreement without concessions from developing countries.

"The Costa del Carbon Dioxide," F. Pearce, New Scientist, pp. 14-15, May 6. An obscure deal brokered by the European Union will allow Spain to increase its carbon dioxide emissions by up to a quarter this decade.

"International Carbon Dioxide Trading Proposed by UN Agency," M. Burke, Environ. Sci. & Technol., p. 208A, May. A pilot scheme proposed in a February report from the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) would include the U.S., the European Union, Japan and a few developing countries in a "liquid and viable" market worth more than $8 billion a year.

"The Berlin Climate Change Summit: Implications for International Environmental Law," S. Dunn, Intl. Environ. Rptr., pp. 439-444, May 31. A feature analysis discussing the significance of the summit, with a brief history and political context. Examines the key decisions and implications for the future of the convention. While falling short in certain respects, the conference offers promise for the future of the convention, and set a milestone in opening dialogue between North and South and between economic and environmental interests.

"[U.S. Senator] Wirth Questioned About U.S. Commitments to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions After 2000," ibid., p. 407. Wirth testified that the U.S. was successful in achieving its objectives at Berlin. Rep. Dan Schaefer expressed concern that emission reduction commitments for the industrial countries could put them at a competitive disadvantage with developing countries.

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