February 28, 2007
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FROM VOLUME 10, NUMBER 1, JANUARY 1997
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.
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
An unpublished study conducted for the German government concludes that its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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