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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 5, NUMBER 4, APRIL 1992
No breakthrough emerged from the fifth session of the
Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) for a Climate Change Convention,
which ended February 28, 1992, in New York. The usual sticking points remained:
specific commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and financial
assistance to developing countries. However, according to Intl. Environ.
Rptr. (pp. 123-124, Mar. 11), negotiators emerged hopeful that a treaty
will be developed before the June Earth Summit, although the nature and extent
of any attainable convention remains in question.
Near the end of the meeting, Robert Reinstein, chief representative for the
United States, summarized several actions his country is making or is willing to
make immediately, as a response to a "perceived lack of commitment by
developed countries." The first is a $50 million contribution to the core
fund of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) of the World Bank, to be available
for a variety of problems of a global nature (not just for climate change, as
was widely reported after the meeting). A separate $25 million commitment over
the next two years would help developing countries prepare national inventories
of greenhouse gas emissions. The source of these funds, and whether they would
represent new contributions or diversions of existing international aid, were
not specified at the meeting. Those questions are discussed extensively in Global
Environ. Change Rep., pp. 1-2, Mar. 13.
The remaining commitments described involve developing approaches for
technology transfer to developing countries, particularly those involving the
private sector; and various existing federal and state programs that have the
effect of limiting greenhouse gases, such as the National Energy Strategy.
Estimates of how these programs will affect emissions will be prepared for the
final negotiating session prior to the Earth Summit (April 30-May 8, 1992).
See Chem. Eng. News, p. 6, Mar. 9, 1992; New Scientist, p.
9, Mar. 7.
The Following Relate in General to the Treaty Negotiations
"Storm Warning over Southeast Asia," P. Hunt, New Scientist,
pp. 18-19, Feb. 29, 1992. Findings from the first study on the potential
socioeconomic effects of climate change for Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand,
backed by the U.N., show that serious effects on economy, agriculture, fisheries
and tourism are possible. The article discusses how the lack of scientific
expertise makes developing countries relatively powerless in climate treaty
"Amazon Nations Name Their Price," ibid., p. 15. Describes
the tough negotiating stance adopted by eight countries prior to the New York
negotiating session, that called for financial and technical help in return for
their own efforts to limit warming.
"U.N. Agency Proposes Global Pollution Trading System to Control Global
Warming," Intl. Environ. Rptr., pp. 61-62, Feb. 12, 1992. The
scheme for allowing industries to trade rights to emit CO2 is described in a
report developed by the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and
aimed at Earth Summit negotiations. (See Reports.) It would allow developing
countries to make a credible contribution to global warming abatement while
"British Environmentalists Urge Major to Set New Goal for CO2 Emission
Cuts," ibid., pp. 129-130, Mar. 11. The Council for the Protection
of Rural England and other groups want U.K. CO2 emissions reduced 20 percent by
the year 2005, instead of the existing commitment of stabilizing emissions by
that time. This and other recommendations relating to the Earth Summit were
spelled out in a report, Putting Our Own House in Order.
"Legislators Say Nations Must Phase Out Greenhouse Gases...," ibid.,
pp. 66-67, Feb. 12. A resolution was drafted by the Global Legislators
Organization for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE-International), which includes
American, European, Japanese and Russian Federation legislators.
"Negotiating an International Convention on Climate Change: The
Challenge for Lawyers," A. York, Environ. Law Section J., 7-10,
Feb. 1992 (N.Y. State Bar Assoc.; 518-463-3200, ext. 5670). This first of a
series of articles on climate change summarizes a June 1991 symposium.
"Commentary: Climate Change Negotiations," P.M. Haas, Environ.,
pp. 2-3, Jan.-Feb. 1992.
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