February 28, 2007
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FROM VOLUME 10, NUMBER 11, NOVEMBER 1997
the end of the Eighth Meeting of the Ad Hoc Group on the Berlin
Mandate, held in Bonn Oct. 20-31, 1997, all major proposals were on
the table, but none of the serious differences were resolved. The meeting
was the last formal negotiating session before the Third Conference of
Parties in Kyoto next month.
The three major industrial blocks are far apart on proposed targets and
timetables for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from developed countries.
The U.S. came in with the weakest proposal, a return to 1990 emissions
during the period 2008 to 2012 (see below). The European Union maintains
its long-held position: 15 percent below 1990 levels by 2010. Japan is in
between with a five percent cut during the period 2008 to 2012, although
it proposes various flexibilities which, depending on interpretation,
could result in only a return to 1990 levels by 2012.
Britain appears to be sticking to its 1992 Earth Summit commitment,
which exceeds the European Union position: a 20 percent reduction by 2010
(see Nature, p. 530, Oct. 9, 1997), a goal also favored by the
Alliance of Small Island States. In Bonn, a group of 77 developing
countries aligned with China and proposed reductions of 15 percent by 2010
and 35 percent by 2020.
The proposals also vary in details such as which greenhouse gases are
included, and delegates remain divided on issues such as emission trading,
developing country commitments, and differentiation of targets to account
for varying circumstances in each country. Informal negotiations are
expected to continue up to the start of the Kyoto conference.
Detailed accounts of the Bonn meeting appear in the Nov. 12 and Oct. 29,
1997, issues of Intl. Environ. Rptr. (the latter contains the
consolidated negotiating text used at Bonn, pp. 1024-1032); Global
Environ. Change Rep., Nov. 14 (http://www.cutter.com/envibusi/);
and The New York Times, Oct. 23 (http://www.nyt.com).
Official documents are also found on the climate convention Web site (http://www.unfccc.de).
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