Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Thursday, November 4, 1999 Published at 18:10 GMT


Sci/Tech

Deadline for global warming deal

Island nations fear for their future if sea levels rise

Ministers have pledged to reach a deal within a year on how to go about reducing the greenhouse gas emissions which many scientists believe will cause global warming.

The agreement came at the end of the Climate Change Conference in Bonn. But environment groups accused several countries of undermining the talks by looking for loopholes behind the scenes.


Margaret Gilmore: The fossil fuel lobby is putting heavy pressure on America to avoid dramatic cuts
A 1997 deal, reached in the Japanese city of Kyoto, commits the industrialised world to an overall 5% cut in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by the year 2012.

Germany's environment minister Juergen Trittin said that despite objections from Saudi Arabia and other key oil exporters, the majority of participating countries wanted the agreement to take effect in the next three years.

"For those who want to delay the Kyoto protocol entering into force, we say to you: 'You can stay out of this process if you want, but you can no longer stop it'."

Both Europe and Japan said for the first time they would ratify the Kyoto protocol by 2002. But the US, the world's biggest polluter, said it would not go along with the deadline. The US Congress wants more action from developing countries.

Meanwhile, the Worldwide Fund for Nature, has accused the US and Australia, Japan and Canada of political schizophrenia.

It said that while their ministers were calling for progress in tackling global warming, their civil servants were trying to widen a loophole allowing them to measure emissions in a different way, thus appearing to reduce them without actually doing so.

Fish are dying

Most scientists agree that greenhouse gases - from car exhausts or burning coal, for instance - are to blame for the warming of the Earth's surface.


BBC Environment Correspondent Margaret Gilmour: Saudi Arabia wants compensation for any reduction in oil sales
They warn that this will lead to flooding in coastal areas, devastating drought in dry areas and disruption of fragile ecosystems.

Low-lying and small island countries which stand to suffer most from global warming said they were disappointed by the lack of progress.

The government representative from the Caribbean island of St Lucia said the delegates were fiddling while the world burned.

Cyclones are increasing in frequency and intensity in the Caribbean, according to government representatives.

They say the fishing industry is also suffering as bacteria harmful to fish are starting to thrive in warmer ocean temperatures.

Officials from the 173 nations at the Bonn conference agreed to meet in a year's time in the Hague in the Netherlands.

Difficult issues which remain unresolved include the penalties for nations that do not meet their pollution targets and the extent to which nations can pay others to reduce pollution on their behalf.



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


Sci/Tech Contents


Relevant Stories

04 Nov 99 | Sci/Tech
Europe's climate forecast is hot

04 Nov 99 | Americas
Island nations' anger over global warming

03 Nov 99 | Sci/Tech
Climate treaty worries emerge in Bonn

02 Nov 99 | Sci/Tech
Ministers tackle global warming

18 Oct 99 | Sci/Tech
Climate 'next century's biggest challenge'

10 Sep 99 | Sci/Tech
Climate disaster possible by 2100

14 Nov 98 | Global warming
Global warming deal reached





Internet Links


UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

Fifth UN Climate Change Conference

Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

World's smallest transistor

Scientists join forces to study Arctic ozone

Mathematicians crack big puzzle

From Business
The growing threat of internet fraud

Who watches the pilots?

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer