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Item #d92apr100

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

Item #d92apr101

"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 negotiations.

Item #d92apr102

"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.

Item #d92apr103

"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 pursuing industrialization.

Item #d92apr104

"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.

Item #d92apr105

"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.

Item #d92apr106

"Commentary: Climate Change Negotiations," P.M. Haas, Environ., pp. 2-3, Jan.-Feb. 1992.

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