Climate Negotiations Lead To More Questions

by | Sep 4, 2007

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Diplomats concluded last week’s U.N.-sponsored climate meeting in Vienna with a statement saying industrialized countries should aspire to cut their emissions to 25 percent to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, The Wall Street Journal reports.

That meeting was just the start of a stretch of climate negotiations in the months ahead. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum is meeting in Sydney this week, then there are back-to-back sessions later this month organized by the United Nations and the Bush administration, and finaly a big U.N. gathering in December in Indonesia. 

Here’s The Journal’s take on the situation:

•  The Emerging Consensus: Diplomats at global-warming talks are agreeing that much deeper cuts need to be made in the emissions that contribute to global warming.
•  Still Under Debate: How to apportion the cuts among countries, industries and consumers. Already, for instance, the U.S. and Australia have called for developing countries to make emissions cuts, not just the industrialized countries covered under the Kyoto agreement.
•  What’s Next: An international fight over who gets stuck with the cleanup bill. As the diplomats wrangle, evidence is mounting that a force beyond governments’ control may be doing more than regulations to slow emissions growth: high energy prices. A recent Environmental Defense report said high gasoline prices caused palpable changes in consumption in the U.S. in 2005. Average carbon-dioxide emissions from new U.S. vehicles fell three percent that year..

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