U.N. REPORT URGES NEW CONTROLS ON GREENHOUSE GASES

admin's picture

SUVA, Fiji (Pacific Newsline, June 3) - A new report confirms
that the developed world, which stabilized its emissions of carbon dioxide and
other greenhouse gases during the 1990s, is likely to see these emissions rise
by the end of the current decade.

Based on projections provided by the governments themselves, the
report anticipates that the combined emissions of Europe, Japan, the US and
other highly industrialized countries could grow by 17% from 2000 to 2010
despite domestic measures currently in place to limit them.

At the same time, the so-called transition countries of Central
and Eastern Europe are starting to increase their emissions again as their
economies recover from their early and mid 1990s nadir. As a result, the
developed world as a whole (highly industrialized plus transition countries)
will see its emissions increase by 10% from 2000 to 2010.

"These findings clearly demonstrate that stronger and more
creative policies will be needed for accelerating the spread of climate-friendly
technologies and persuading businesses, local governments and citizens to cut
their greenhouse gas emissions," said Joke Waller-Hunter, Executive
Secretary of the UN Climate Change Convention.

Developed countries saw their combined emissions actually fall
during the 1990s, by 3%, due to a 37% decline in transition country emissions.
They thus met the Climate Change Convention's intermediate aim of keeping the
group's overall emissions at 1990 levels by 2000. However, greenhouse gas
emissions in the highly industrialized countries rose by 8% during that period.
The European Union's total emissions decreased by 3.5% from 1990 to 2000, with
individual member States varying between a decrease of 19% and an increase of
35%. Emissions increased in most other highly industrialized countries,
including New Zealand (5%), Japan (11%), the US (14%), Australia (18%) and
Canada (20%).

Emissions rose in all major economic sectors, including energy,
transport, industry and agriculture. The exception was waste management, where
emissions declined slightly. The figures do not include emissions and removals
from land-use change and forestry.

The report, an official UN document entitled Compilation and
Synthesis of Third National Communications, will be considered at a two-week
meeting of the UN Climate Change Convention's 190 member governments that
formally opens in Bonn tomorrow. Its projections, which are based on data from
2000-2001, can help governments plan their future climate change strategies.

The report finds that governments are adopting a more
comprehensive set of policies and measures than they did several years ago for
addressing their emissions. Examples include emissions trading, carbon taxes and
green certificate trading. The greatest number of policies and measures are
being applied to the energy sector.

National governments continue to play a major role in setting
the overall climate response strategy. However, local and regional governments
are becoming more involved, and there is a greater emphasis on consulting and
collaborating with key stakeholders and civil society.

With a very few exceptions, the reporting governments underlined
the importance of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol in shaping their domestic climate
policy responses. They reiterated that their Kyoto targets are a first step
towards long-term and continued emission reductions.

Under the Protocol developed countries are to reduce their
average emissions by 5% by the period 2008-2112 (although Australia and the US,
citing concerns over economic impacts, have withdrawn from the agreement). The
Protocol will enter into force 90 days after it has been ratified by the Russian
Federation.

The report's usefulness has been greatly improved by the growing
rigor of the underlying national reports, called national communications. One
hundred initial national communications from developing countries and 31 third
national communications from developed countries have been submitted so far. The
reporting of annual greenhouse gas inventories by developed countries has
improved in quantity, quality and timeliness.

In addition to this report, the agenda of the Bonn meeting also
foresees negotiations on modalities for including forestry projects in the Clean
Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Protocol. The CDM is a tool for
promoting sustainable development by enabling industrialized countries to
finance emission-reduction projects in developing countries and, by doing so,
receive credits that they can use to meet their targets under the Kyoto
Protocol.

Issues regarding forestry projects in the CDM are technically
complex and subject to intense debate. They include how one can safeguard
against the risk that greenhouse gases initially absorbed by a forestry project
could later be released (e.g. by fire) and how negative socio-economic and
environmental impacts of such projects can be avoided. A decision on this issue
is expected to be taken at the next session of the Conference of the Parties, to
be held in Milan from 1-12 December 2003.

On the sidelines of the meeting, the Executive Board of the CDM
will hold its ninth meeting on 7-8 June. The Board will, for the first time,
consider methodologies needed for evaluating and monitoring CDM projects. If
such methodologies are approved, the first CDM projects could be registered
during the third quarter of 2003. The results of the ninth CDM Executive Board
meeting will be presented at an event on Monday, 9 June, at the Maritim Hotel.

June 6, 2003

Pacific Newsline: Suvapacificnewsline@state.gov 

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment