ECO GENEVA #10 - Dec 20, 1991 (55K) 
Author Message
 ECO GENEVA #10 - Dec 20, 1991 (55K)

From: Lelani Arris <larris>
Subject: ECO GENEVA #10 - Dec 20, 1991 (55K)

                          ECO NEWSLETTER

         CLIMATE TALKS GENEVA DECEMBER '91 NGO NEWSLETTER
                        FINAL INC 4 ISSUE

                        December 20, 1991
                     ISSUE #10, VOLUME LXXIX

                        TABLE OF CONTENTS

1            The Engineer Who Would Save the Climate
2            The New Imperialism
3            Climate Delay: Five Nations Singled Out
4            Southern NGOs Say 'No' to GEF
5            Toasters and Refugees (Editorial)
6            NGO Concerns About Joint Implementation Proposals
7            GEF in the Phillipines: Making an Option out of a Trap
8            Statement by Environmental Organizations at INC 4
9            Dublin Water Conference
10           Glossary
11           NGO Update
12           Chile Ozone Hot Line
13           ERRATA
14           Conference Report
15           John Sununu: Farewell to the President's "Pit Bull"
16           US Children Act on Global Warming
17           Contacts
18           Credits

Eco has been published by Non-Governmental Environmental Groups
at major international conferences since the Stockholm
Environment Conference in 1972. This issue is produced
cooperatively by groups attending the Climate Talks in Geneva,
December 1991

We are pleased to announce that ECO is now being carried on the
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1) The Engineer Who Would Save the Climate

ECO talks to Pier Vellinga

Netherlands delegate Pier Vellinga left the INC talks this week
after four sessions in which he emerged as a persuasive and
powerful advocate of an effective climate Convention. After
playing a central role in the development of European climate
policy, Vellinga will now run an environmental institute at the
Free University of Amsterdam.

Eco: How did you first get involved with the climate issue?

Vellinga: I was a coastal engineer with Delft Hydraulics. After
the 1953 floods I thought the thing to do was to protect the
Netherlands by building{*filter*}s. I graduated in engineering and by
34 was Deputy Director at Delft Hydraulic Laboratory. But I did
my PhD on beach and dune erosion and found that 70% of the
world's beaches were eroding, just 20% were stable and only 10%
were accreting. Even accounting for engineering structures
stopping sediment supply, some other factor was causing erosion.
In 1982/3 I heard that this might be human-induced sea level
rise, and that started my interest. In 1987 I was on a plane
going to UNEP to discuss sea level rise and read the draft of Our
Common Future. That made a huge impact on me. I recognised that
humanity was 'on the wrong train'; and for me personally that
prevention of climate change would be better to pursue than
adaptation.

At the 1988 Toronto Conference I met Ed Nijpels, the Dutch
Environment Minister who asked me to organize the Noordwijk
Conference. I found my experience at negotiating international
contracts for Delft Hydraulics was really quite useful in
negotiating over climate!

Eco: Has the issue moved faster or slower than you expected?

Vellinga: In 1988 when I was hired by the Environment Ministry we
thought there might be a Climate Convention by 1995. Then the
momentum quickened and we thought we might even get Protocols by
1992. Now the issue has broadened and has therefore slowed.
Originally I thought that progress on climate might push the
North-South issue but I'm afraid that unless we get more
'catastrophic' evidence of climate change, climate is still not
strong enough to act as the motor for progress on development.
Nevertheless, we have made far more progress than anyone thought
possible back in 1987 or 1988.

Eco: Will we have a Convention by June 1992?

Vellinga: I am optimistic. It will include the words
'stabilization of CO2 emissions by industrialised countries at
1990 levels by 2000' but I can't guarantee what words will go in
front of that or behind! In fact this objective is almost too
easy to reach. The only CO2 emissions sector with real growth is
transport, and an important part of this growth is 'leisure'
transport. There is resistance in the US, but if the Department
of Energy study had assumed the same GNP and rate of population
growth as Europe, then from 1990 to 2000, emissions would 'grow'
6-8% not 12-15%. A 5% reduction by 2000 is within the bounds of
political feasibility for the US.

The US intervention (last week) envisaged progressive steps: the
only problem is that US is not ready for the first step. Japan is
close to the EC target. Significant steps by the industrialised
countries are a prerequisite for China, India and other
developing countries to undertake any commitments of any sort of
their own. In this respect there is a natural alliance of
interest between the EC and developing countries.

Eco: Is there misunderstanding of the EC position within the G77?

Vellinga: Yes. Some countries fear EC commitment initiatives
might carry over to affect them. Whereas actually the EC is
concerned to get joint industrial commitment.

Eco: What of E Europe. Should we read the German joint
commitments proposal as relating to East Europe?

Vellinga: As I understand, Minister Toepfer has recently been to
SE Asia. And as I was told, he was influenced by hearing that CO2
emissions in that region are growing at 4% a year. Technical
cooperation with SE Asia is one thought behind the proposal. But
the Netherlands, EC and Germany are also having extensive
discussions with East European countries.

Eco: The EC has determined to draw up a tax on carbon/energy. How
far does this take us?

Vellinga: We had a maximum possible outcome in view: a drafting
of formal and elaborated proposals for the implementation of such
a revenue-neutral tax, and a minimum outcome in view, namely more
studies. This is the maximum, the best we could have hoped for.
It will not disappear from the agenda now. Too many people and
countries have bought into it. The Cohesion Fund, to support
economic growth in the less-developed countries, was established
and also confirmed today (Friday 13 12 91). As a result of the
Maastricht decision that environment policy - including emissions
and economic instruments - can only be decided by unanimity, I
believe Spain does not feel so threatened by the tax. This helps
us reach the next stage of setting up the tax.

Eco: What will the costs of the tax be?

Vellinga: Studies by DRI, a Paris-based consultancy, and others
show that an introduction of a tax increasing up to US$10 per
barrel of oil, the negative impact on GNP within the EC is about
0.07% per year, which is 0.7% over a decade. This must be
compared with a positive growth in the economy of 2.2% per year
or 22% over 10 years.

Eco: How did backing emerge for the tax proposal?

Vellinga: The Netherlands proved to be the 'bellwether state'. It
started on environmental grounds about a year ago, then within
three months a macro-economic institute advised the government
that it would be good for the economy because it would retain
windfall profits within the economies of the oil consumers. Three
months after that, even diehard economists began to defend the
tax idea, and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment
decided that it would be useful in meeting increased demands for
social security payments, as one could decrease income tax: it's
a revenue neutral tool. Shortly after that, the Finance Ministry
decided that an eco-tax was the best tool for efficiently
delivering environmental results. Energy taxes are usually easier
for governments to push through than income taxes. The same sort
of discussion has occurred with some of our EC partners.

Eco: It looks promising that Europe will have some kind of a
Directive agreed by June 1992. Will this affect the attitude of
the USA, because the US has repeatedly criticised Europe for
lacking an instrument with which to implement its political
commitment to stabilize CO2?

Vellinga: The biggest instrument in the Netherlands, Denmark,
Germany, Italy, and increasingly the UK and other member states,
is broad public support which creates political backing. I know
that the US Embassies are well aware of every detail of Europe's
progress. Whether the US Administration is reflecting this
awareness in their statements is another matter.

Eco: You're now going to run your environmental policy institute
at Amsterdam Free University: what message do you leave us with ?

Vellinga: I am positive about the Convention. The Community is
making progress, the US can do so, and the political machinery in
Japan is showing a very keen interest. I will miss being
involved. Initially I was interested through scientific curiosity
- how people could change the very climate just through normal
everyday activity. Now I see it as one of the biggest challenges
facing humanity. If the Convention does not deliver results I
fear that other less equitable mechanisms - like extreme weather
events - will. Experts estimate that insurance payouts for
climate damage will reach US$100bn a year, from the present
US$20bn a year. Within the coming ten years, unfortunately it is
the poorer countries will be the victims of a wait-and-see policy.

"I recognised that humanity was 'on the wrong train'; and for me
personally that prevention of climate change would be better to
pursue than adaptation."

If the Convention does not deliver results I fear that other less
equitable mechanisms - like extreme weather events - will.

2) The New Imperialism

by Agus P. Sari

Some say, 'why should Germany or Norway have to reduce CO2
emissions, if it can be done much more cheaply in Poland or
Indonesia?'

This thinking is dangerous because of the inherently inequitable
relationship between the North and South. Establishing
arrangements within this framework will perpetuate and worsen
these inequalities. The basic problem in climate change is
over-consumption in the North. This needs to be reduced at
source, and will not even necessarily mean reducing the quality
of life in the North. Switching off a 1,500 Watt hair dryer in an
industrialized country equates to proper electrification for four
houses in a small town in the South.

Industrialized countries have a responsibility to reduce their
CO2 emissions in their own countries. This responsibility should
not be transferred abroad in any form, even if industrialized
nations have given money to the so-called 'climate fund'.

The theory says that CO2 reductions will be implemented together,
by both contracting parties (the Northern and the Southern
country) but the fact is that the industrialized countries emit
more, so have a stronger interest in reducing their emissions.
Projects will be 'top-down' as usual, as the industrialized
countries - the ones who have both the money and an interest in
getting credit for their actions - will ask the developing
countries to do what they want to be done, and will keep
controlling the use of the money.

Developing countries will compete among themselves to 'sell'
their emission as cheaply as possible to attract 'customers'.
Even if the political side of the relationship is neglected, this
'buyer market' will result in a never-ending 'commitment buying'
game, and delay global reduction of CO2 emissions. The increase
in emissions may slow down, but this will not lead to real cuts.

Multinational corporations in developing countries, currently the
major consumers of energy, are there for same reason:
cost-effectiveness, or least-cost options, terms that may be
applied to any tradeable item.

Industrialized countries get double (or even triple) benefit out
of this implementation; firstly, by investing cheaply in
industries in the developing countries, they no longer have any
environmental and social obligations to consider; secondly, they
reduce pollution back at home; and thirdly, they get credit for
something they haven't done at the global level.

In the long term, however, development needs a certain amount of
energy, but once a nation has 'traded' its emissions, investment
in the industrial sector cannot be sustained because there will
be no energy credits available.

Joint Implementation is simply another form of imperialism, it
limits the developing countries' development, and maintains the
excessive luxuries of life in the industrialized North, where
energy cuts are really needed. This whole negotiation is not an
economical discussion it is a political extravaganza, and nothing
to do with real economics.

This piece is dedicated to all developing countries that are fed
up with the domination of the industrialized countries' money.
There are many things that more than money

Agus P. Sari is with WALHI: Indonesian Forum for Environment/
Friends of the Earth Indonesia as the Coordinator of the Working
Group on Energy.

3) Climate Delay: Five Nations Singled Out

By Eco Reporter

A tenth day plenary of the 4th Session of United Nations climate
talks in Geneva gradually fell silent yesterday, as an alliance
of 30 environment groups from six continents focused criticism on
the United States, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, India and China.

The thinly veiled attack was brought on by the snail's pace
progress being made in agreeing a Climate Convention which is due
to be signed in Rio in June 1992. It came in a statement
delivered by leading climate scientist Dr Michael Oppenheimer of
the New York-based Environmental Defense Fund.

Referring to the US's refusal to cut greenhouse pollution,
Oppenheimer stated "my country - that renegade country ... the
largest greenhouse gas polluter in the world, the world's
wealthiest country, has yet to commit itself to doing anything".
Echoing calls from Austria and others, the environment groups
called for 'specific reductions in emissions from industrial
nations, and timetables for compliance with those reductions'.

Scientific Consensus

Oppenheimer, who served as a scientific reviewer of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, told diplomats "we are
sure that large and potentially disastrous (climate) changes are
afoot. Let us be under no illusion. This is the consensus among
scientists".

With the text still so qualified that one delegate declared its
density of square brackets - used to denote text in contention -
had reached 'saturation point', the joint statement said that
NGOs "remained confident that the text of a Convention will
emerge", but warned "we are not at all confident it will be an
effective convention". The groups declared "We are alarmed that
you are losing time to create political agreement, by diverting
energy into bracketing "

In a reference to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, which many delegates
believe do not want a Climate Convention at all, Oppenheimer
declared "their commitment to oil outweighs their commitment to
the fate of humanity". Delays caused by "the world's two most
populous countries" (India and China) were "inexcusable" said the
statement.

4) Southern NGOs say 'No' to GEF

NGOs from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Ghana, Chile and
others reiterate their objection to the Climate Fund being
administered by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), modified
or otherwise, under the World Bank. The reasons for the strong
objection are due to GEF being undemocratic, narrow, inadequate,
and ineffectual. Even a Montreal Protocol style governance of the
Climate Fund, with representation from, for example, seven
industrialised countries and seven from the developing countries,
is not acceptable; seven from the strong G7, and 7 from the more
than 120 members of the G77 is not equal representation.

The GEF is a 3-year pilot project conceived hastily and secretly
in 1990 by about 25 donor/Northern countries. It is a unilateral
initiative taken in fora that excluded the South with "the
knowledge that other negotiations would be taking place, not only
on climate change but also on biodiversity, and that other
significant initiatives would be launched in the context of
UNCED" (W K Piddington, World Bank Report distributed at INC 4
last week)

It is undemocratic industrialised countries to start a pilot
project secretly which is then imposed on the developing
countries. It is ludicrous to hear the GEF described as "a new
threshold of collaboration by the international community in
addressing the global environmental problems". Having created
GEF, the industrialised countries state that they are not going
to set up or waste any more money on other bureaucracy.

The GEF has a narrow framework with the main rationale being
financing conservation of "ecosystems" and resources
(conveniently proclaimed as global commons) whose benefits accrue
to the world at large, eg. biodiversity, international waterways,
climate change and ozone depletion. Global commons supposedly
require global cooperation/intervention, e.g. by the GEF, and the
coincidence with the global interests of multinationals or
industries are too obvious not to be noticed. We see very clearly
the imposition of values and self-interests on the part of the
initiators of GEF.

Much GEF investment project funding passes through the Bank, with
GEF funds simply as tag-ons to destructive projects.

The GEF is also grossly inadequate and ineffectual as its
investment projects have no social or grassroots base. There is
no room in GEF for small-scale locally initiated projects which
satisfy the needs of local communities. Instead, the GEF relies
on, and supports, government bureaucracies and international and
foreign mega NGOs, who receive most GEF funding. The absence of
any credible independent local NGOs in the management process of
GEF 1st and 2nd Tranches investment projects is very revealing
and confirms our assertions. This approach is not unusual, in
fact it is frequently the norm with externally imposed
initiatives.

GEF, modified or otherwise, is diversionary and the Southern NGOs
reject it. GEF should not be promoted as a formula for global
environmental financing/management at this stage, so as not to
bias the UNCED negotiations for institutional arrangements for
financing adjustment to environmental costs. By pushing the GEF
arrangement UNCED's options are already constrained. We propose
the GEF be suspended.

We believe the world cannot afford to strengthen or endorse,
through the GEF, the Bank's role in the (mis)management of the
global environment.

Right of reply

The African Group attending the Fourth INC Session has taken note
of the article "Africa's Miracle Green Plan" published in ECO,
December 17, 1991. They would like to make the following remarks:

The drought and the desertification problems focussed in this
article are certainly not new, and it would be unfortunate to
ignore the magnitude of this phenomenon during the last decades,
particularly in Africa.

Resulting dramatic consequences are simply incalculable and
without precedent in history of humankind, both for affected
populations and ecosystems.

The fact that the Group emphasized drought and desertification
which are practically not mentioned in the working documents of
the Climate Convention, does not mean that the Group excluded the
other major problems facing the continent, in particular those
dealing with transfer of technologies and funding mechanisms
mentioned in the article.

This is why the African Group would like to remind, and reaffirm
here, that the common African position, as expressed in November
1991 in Abidjan, by African Ministers for Environment and
Development is still valid. Any other statement beyond this
position is pure speculation, and responsibility of the author of
the article.

* La traduction franiaise de cet article est disponible aupres de
la redaction.

5) Toasters and Refugees

In Los Angeles they sell cars equipped with toasters. The drivers
need the toast for breakfast. They need the breakfast in their
cars because they spend so much time in their cars. They spend so
much time in their cars because the roads are so overcrowded. The
roads are overcrowded because there are too many cars. Not
because there are too many people.

In India they use fuelwood to cook breakfast. Not often wood in
fact, more often twigs and brush, bits of dry weeds because that
is what is available. That is a measure of inequity. Of course
there are some rich Indians who have cars. That is another
measure of inequity. India's development plans will doubtless
provide many more people with cars.

As Pier Vellinga has noted, it is a remarkable reality of the
greenhouse issue that humanity's everyday activities can perturb
the global atmosphere. As Michael Oppenheimer has observed, it is
a tragedy that this unforeseen consequence will probably visit
un-natural disasters on this generation and those that follow.

The task of these talks is to avert that catastrophe. To do so
means eliciting agreement between those governments who cannot
afford wood for fuelwood, and those whose citizens create smog
while making toast in a Californian traffic jam.

Right now the delegates to the climate talks seem overwhelmed by
the task in hand. The world is underwhelmed by their progress.
While a Climate Convention cannot close the gap between the rich
and the poor, it will make no progress at all until that gap is
acknowledged, both in form and structure.

Just as Geneva was once a sanctuary for refugees, New York was
once a refuge for the poor, the hungry, the huddled masses,
yearning to be free. In February 1992 New York will play host to
hopes that the United States currently erodes. How far these
cities will have fallen, if the UN and the USA fail to live up to
their heritage. Freedom must have bought something beyond the
freedom to fit cars with toasters, some sort of vision that sees
the climate refugees beyond the brackets.

6) NGO Concerns About Joint Implementation Proposals

Proposals have been introduced by Norway and Germany regarding
joint implementation. At this point, the details of these
proposals are incomplete, but based on preliminary evaluations,
most environmental NGOs have serious questions about them.
Emissions reductions must come first in the countries that are
producing excessive emissions. If joint implementation diverts
attention from that goal, it must necessarily wait until a later
stage.

NGOs suggest the following list of major issues for delegates to
consider as they evaluate proposals for joint implementation:

1. North/South Equity Issues

Perhaps the most serious and complex concerns deal with
North/South equity issues.

* The basic problem causing climate change is over-consumption in
the North, which needs to be reduced where it occurs, not
transferred to countries in the South that already have low
consumption and greenhouse emissions levels.

* Developing countries do not share equal power with the
industrialized countries:

-industrialized countries could play off developing countries
against one another to win the best (ie, most concessional) deal
(e.g. cheap labor, weak environmental restrictions);

-this could lead to a continuation of the colonial relationship,
with developed countries dictating actions to developing
countries and controlling funds;

-industrialized countries could use their leverage in fora or on
issues not directly related to the climate convention to
influence and dictate actions under joint implementation
provisions;

-bilateral agreements, especially, may allow some countries or
corporations to dictate technology choices to developing
countries.

* Joint implementation could distort development priorities in
the South, especially where projects are co-funded, by pressuring
developing countries to build projects the North likes, rather
than ones the South really needs. Projects could also be
"doctored" to be attractive to the North.

* Joint implementation could, directly or indirectly, come at the
expense of funds from a climate fund and/or from usual
development aid funds.

* Developed countries could take the best, most cost-effective
emissions reduction opportunities in developing countries for
their own emission credits, leaving them unavailable for
developing countries later, when those countries may need the
credits to meet commitments of their own.

* 'Least-cost' and 'cost-effective' could have different meanings
in the North and South; some projects that reduce greenhouse gas
emissions could have significant adverse social, environmental,
and developmental impacts in Southern countries.

* Benefits could flow to multinational corporations, Northern
governments, or Southern elites instead of the local citizens.

* Joint implementation could lead to just transferring Northern
"technology", and not helping to develop indigenous technology
capability in developing countries.

Even if these equity concerns can be resolved, the following
issues must also be resolved:

2. Who Benefits?

* If these actions truly are less costly than what would have
been done otherwise, then the savings should be used not just to
reach the basic environmental commitments in a convention, but to
achieve deeper emissions reductions, for the sake of the
environment. The environment and our present and future
generations should get the benefit.

3. Timing Concerns

* Joint implementation could delay achieving the number one
priority in the short run, which is to begin making emissions
reductions in the developed countries of the North now.

* Working out the many details of joint implementation could
divert the attention of negotiators from the primary goal of
completing the convention.

4. Forests and Other Sinks

* Proposals to credit forests and other sinks against emissions
reduction commitments present extremely complex and presently
unresolved problems.

* Preconditions for the use of forests and sinks as part of
emissions reductio commitments include:

- resolution of land ownership and tenure problems;

- strong linkages to biodiversity objectives, consistent with
protection of natural ecosystems;

- resolution of scientific uncertainties in the knowledge of
sinks and sources and their behavior in a changing climate;

-meeting the needs of local communities and forest-dependent
societies.

5. Difficulties in Honest Implementation and Verification

* There must be sound emissions inventories, baselines and
methods for actually measuring the emissions reductions due to
specific projects.

* How can we measure how much reduction is truly due to a
specific project, an what emissions "might have been"?

* Joint implementation without an emissions cap or other limit on
the developing country's emissions could result in "shell games"
that simply transfer emissions from one location to another.

* Joint implementation would require a strong international
institution to evaluate and approve transactions, with an open,
"transparent" process, to ensure that projects are truly
"additional to" what would have been done otherwise, and that the
claimed results are actually achieved. The international body
must have the political authority and will to stand up to both
Northern and Southern countries that could share an interest in
overstating the emissions benefits from specific projects.

7) GEF in the Philippines: Making an Option out of a Trap

By Anna Ma. Torres

The World Bank currently has a commitment to the Philippine
government of US $20 million for an Integrated Protected Areas
System (IPAS), through the GEF. Two conditions, however, are
attached; one that a law on the IPAS be passed by Congress by
June 1992, and the other is the acceptance of management plans
for 10 sites.

With the elections coming in February the Cabinet is trying to
rush the Bill through. Is it mere coincidence that management
plans are to be reviewed by a World Bank Mission from January to
March 1992?

The rushed draft bill has already drawn strong reactions from
indigenous people and support groups around the country, due to
lack of consultation and its timing; it could overtake a pending
Bill recognizing ancestral land rights.

By playing into the need to boost funds for national parks, years
of hard work to get indigenous land rights recognized are now
jeopardized.

Tailoring park management plans for the Bank's approval could
also undermine work to bring indigenous communities into more
decisive roles in conservation management.

For development workers, social, environmental and economic
problems can best be solved by democratizing access to resources
and empowering communities to be self-determining. Efforts,
however, are undermined by our multi-million dollar debt to the
Bank, a subject on which the GEF is silent.

At the cost of so many lives, and much insecurity about the
future, we know only too well the importance of the environment
as a development interest.

As we face the impacts of climate change, we need workable
solutions which address fundamental problems, and not options
which may leave us worse off.

Anna Torres works on climate issues with the Haribon/Green Forum
Philippines

8) Statement by Environmental Organizations

at the 4th Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee
For A Framework Convention on Climate Change, December 19 1991,
Geneva.

"My name is Michael Oppenheimer. I am a senior scientist at the
Environmental Defense Fund in New York. I am speaking to you on
behalf of 30 environment and development NGOs from six
continents, who have been observing at your talks. These
organizations thank you for the opportunity to make this
intervention.

"Ladies and gentlemen, we have listened carefully and tried to
contribute constructively. Like the wife of Ambassador Estrada,
we take a critical view of your job. People, not governments,
expect us to do so.

"We are not encouraged by your progress.

"We have heard much about commitments. In square brackets. We
have seen the language of the IPCC and the Second World Climate
Conference put in brackets, bracketed again, and put into other
brackets. We have had preambular brackets served up for
breakfast, funding in brackets for lunch, principles in brackets
for dinner, and mechanisms in brackets by bed time.

"We remain confident that the text of a Convention will emerge.
However, we are not at all confident it will be an effective
convention. Those square brackets exist for the purpose of
defending the supposed interests of countries.

"But in so doing, they may yet commit us to global catastrophe.
Why ? Because an effective Convention depends not just on its
legal drafting but on the political will behind it. We are
alarmed that you are losing time to create political agreement,
by diverting energy into bracketing and unbracketing.

"We know the brackets will be eventually discarded. But what
remains may be too frail to be effective. At the end of the day,
a Convention built on used brackets will be like a house built on
sand. Science tells us that we need something far stronger.

"Let me talk to you now as a scientist who has participated in
the IPCC process.

"It was science, not politics, which brought you here in the
first place. Do each of you remember what scientists have been
saying about global warming ?

"Simply this:

"Despite large uncertainties in the rate and degree of future
warming, despite uncertainties in the size of future sea level
rise, and despite our limited understanding of regional effects,
we are sure that large and potentially disastrous changes are
afoot. Let us be under no illusion. This is the consensus among
scientists. Yet the proliferation of brackets throughout your
text could give the impression that the entire global warming
problem is a matter of opinion. Let us not forget that the
scientific basis is built from almost one hundred years of
research. It constitutes nothing less than a prima facie case for
immediate and effective action.

"Here are some of the scientific findings which led your
governments to send you here in the first place:

"First, we are certain that concentrations of greenhouse gases
are increasing in the atmosphere and that continued increases
will lead to a significant warming. Second, we are certain that
the major greenhouse gases remain in the atmosphere for a very
long time. Carbon dioxide remains the longest and it is the most
important of the greenhouse gases. As a consequence of these long
lifetimes, the warming effect, once manifest, will not be
reversed for centuries. What you do here now will determine the
future for a long, long time.

"Third, we are confident that warming will continue over the
coming century until emissions are reduced, and that terminating
the warming trend will require large reductions in these
emissions. For example, it is estimated that to end the buildup
of carbon dioxide immediately would require a two-thirds
reduction in emissions.

"Fourth, because the effect of today's emissions is not fully
apparent for decades, we expect to witness far more warming from
gases already emitted than has been measured to date. This lag
means that once undesirable consequences occur, far worse will
inevitably follow.

"Fifth, we also expect sea level to rise significantly as the
world warms, flooding low-lying coastal areas. Sixth, we expect
the rate of warming to exceed the speed at which many natural
ecosystems can adapt to the change. These pieces of nature will
simply disappear. Finally, we should be as wary of what we don't
know, as we are of that which we understand clearly.

"Politicians tend to regard uncertainty as a reason for delay, as
if it can only change risk downward. But the one global example
of mis-estimation of risk occurred far in the other direction.
The rapid and unexpected depletion of the ozone layer over
Antarctica, and now over the globe, should be taken as a warning
of the dire consequences of our great ignorance of the way nature
operates.

"The ozone surprise first appeared where no human lives, although
it now affects millions. But can you be sure that the first
climatic surprise won't occur where you live?

"You may disguise short term national interests with brackets but
the science remains.

"As governments you will not protect your people from floods or
devastating droughts by putting brackets round the words 'sea
level rise' or 'adverse effects of climate change'. Your children
and grandchildren will not feel better about losing their crops,
their homes, their forests or their national parks, just because
you put the possibility of it, into brackets. Brackets may be
used to hide the scientific truth about climate change but they
will not prevent it. They will not prevent cyclones from
intensifying, or keep corals alive, or keep sea ice from melting,
or make monsoons arrive on time.

"It is clear to all of us that there are some countries which in
discussions of the Convention are presently part of the problem,
while others are part of the solution.

"We are painfully aware that the largest greenhouse gas polluter
in the world, the world's wealthiest country, has yet to commit
itself to doing anything. Tell me, where is your sense of
leadership? Where is your sense of responsibility?

"Because developing countries understandably want to see action
from the whole of the rich North before they make commitments,
this powerful country is the largest single obstacle to achieving
an effective convention in Rio.

"The only comprehensive and effective Convention will be one with
full participation, specific reductions in emissions from
industrial nations, and timetables for compliance with those
reductions.

"We are saddened that some countries seem no less complacent than
this large powerful nation. Nobody listening to the interventions
of two extremely wealthy oil producing nations, could avoid the
impression that their commitment to oil outweighs their
commitment to the fate of humanity. We are also concerned that
the two most populous countries in the world, seem happy to wait
for the Conference of Parties to be established before reaching
agreement on the essential mechanisms that will be needed to make
the Convention function effectively. Such delay is as inexcusable
as are raw self-interest and complacency.

"So far this Convention has had far too little to say about
promoting renewable energy or energy efficiency, about actually
reducing global emissions, not just stabilizing them, or about
the life threatening impact of climate change on low lying and
other vulnerable countries. It says nothing about avoiding the
{*filter*} climate surprises which may well be in store. It does
nothing to create a fair framework in which the South can act in
the confidence that climate agreements will not become yet
another mechanism to promote the financial and technological
interests of the North.

"Ladies and gentlemen, science tells us that emissions must be
significantly reduced to avert the risks. It is obvious that
action, substantial action, must be taken now. But between the
understanding of science and the will to act on it, a shadow has
fallen.

"The gap between what is required, and the measures which you
appear to be considering, remains enormous. We urge you to
redouble your efforts and to use the months, the days, and the
hours remaining, to close that gap. We know that the risks
increase every moment that you delay. The clock is ticking for
all of us. "

9) Dublin Water Conference

By Deborah Moore and Scott Hajost, EDF

An International Conference on Water and the Environment (ICWE)
will be held in Dublin, Ireland, from January 26-31 1992 in part
to formulate freshwater strategies for UNCED.

One of the seven topics to be addressed is the impact of climate
change on water resources. Global climatic changes could have
disastrous effects on the availability and quality of freshwater
resources: annual runoff could be reduced by 40-70% due to a
temperature increase of 1-2 degrees C and a 10% decrease in
precipitation.

Sea-level rise could threaten coastal aquifers. Both droughts and
floods could become more intense and prolonged.

The conference aims to develop agreements and recommendations for
assessing water resources and monitoring the impact of climate
change as well as response mechanisms and means of
implementation.

There are already effective strategies to reduce the impacts of
climate change on water resources including enhanced monitoring
and forecasting; water conservation measures in the irrigation
sector; demand management programs, including pricing mechanisms;
and developing integrated water management, including aquatic
ecosystem protection.

Finding water to allocate to environmental protection purposes
will be all the more difficult if the availability of water
supplies is further diminished through climate-induced changes in
runoff, and if the chosen solution to such changes is the
construction of new storage reservoirs.

Deborah Moore is a staff Scientist, and Scott Hajost is
international counsel, at EDF.

10) Glossary

Some confusion has been expressed as to some of the terms being
used at these talks.. Here Eco provides a short but definitive
list of definite definitions.

Agreement: (undefined)

Brackets: devices whose proper use is for attaching shelves to
walls

Climate Change: the sun comes out in Geneva

Commitments: actions that [may or may not] be taken at a later
date

Consultation: diplomatic arm-twisting

Conference of Parties: large diplomatic reception

Convention: formality

Emissions: speeches by delegates

Emissions reduction: see above

Formal: quite Conventional

Facility: looks too easy

Framework: a device held together by brackets

Impacts: nothing here makes any

Informal: formal

Informal informal: very formal

Joint implementation: a reference to the consumption of
psychotropic substances

Least cost options: unavailable in Switzerland

Mechanisms: devices containing cogs and wheels

Minimum requirements: suit and tie

Net: catch-all

New and additional: the same thing as before under a different
name

Objective: a lens that makes minutiae enormous

Principles: something negotiators prefer to leave at home

Sinks: containers, washing for the use of

Sources: information obtained anonymously

Targets: designed to be shot at

11) Environment and development NGOs present at the 4th INC include:

Alliance To Save Energy USA

Ancient Forests International USA

Australian Conservation Foundation/WWF Australia

Centre for Advanced Studies Bangladesh

Centre for Global Change USA

Climate Action Network UK UK

Climate Network Europe Belgium

Development Alternatives India

ENDA-TM-Dakar Senegal

Energy and Environment Study Institute USA

Environmental Defense Fund USA

FoE International UK

Friends of the Earth-Ghana Ghana

Friends of the Earth-Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea

Greenpeace International Netherlands

Haribon/Green Forum Philippines

Instituto de Ecologia Politicia Chile

ISMUN Sweden

ISMUN Finland

KENGO Kenya

National Audubon Society USA

Natural Resources Defense Council USA

Quebec Union for the Conservation of Nature Canada

Sahabat Alam Malaysia Malaysia

Stichting Natuur en Milieu Netherlands

Tata Energy Research Institute India

Union of Concerned Scientists USA

WALHI Indonesia

Woods Hole Research Center USA

WWF DenmarkDenmark

WWF International Switzerland

WWF UK UK

WWF US USA

Zelena Akcija Zagreb Croatia

12) Chile Ozone Hot Line

By Eco reporter

Public concern over the ozone hole has led ecology groups in
Chile to set up an ozone help line. Cecilia Fortes of the
Instituto de Ecologia Politicia told Eco the phone line, set up
between September and November, has taken hundreds of calls each
day.

Most enquires were about health problems, "hospitals in South
Chile have seen an increase in skin problems, so the ozone hole
is a hot issue in some parts of the country" said Fortes. The
market in so called "protective creams" has been booming in Chile
recently, creating great controversy as there are no standards
for many of these products. Sales of sunglasses have also
increased.

The lack of official information on the effects of ozone
depletion has led ecology groups to call on the Government to;
establish a Commission for Ozone problems; monitor UV-B
radiation; and implement a public awareness and information
campaign.

The ozone layer over the region has now recovered but public
concern is still prevalent. As Fortes says, "the ozone hole is a
nightmare Chilean citizens will not easily forget".

13) ERRATA

Science Update in the Greenhouse

Keen-eyed readers may have spotted a couple of proof reading
errors in Michael Oppenheimer's piece in Eco 9. Paragraph 3, for
"on global" read "for the greenhouse build-up." In paragraph four
read "past decade" instead of "past few decades".

14) Conference Report

The Plenary received reports of its Working Groups Co-Chairs,
drafts of consolidated texts, heard a statement from the
environmental NGOs, discussed its program of work and considered
dates for INC 6 without resolution.

Most who spoke, including the Chairman, stressed the need for the
INC to accelerate its work and change its negotiating style
(Brazil), use the intersessional period for further
consultations, for the Bureau to take a more pro-active role and
for the text to be cleared up prior to INC-5. One of the more
memorable statements was by Kenya which pointed out that on
average a day's worth of Working Group time would be saved during
an INC session if meetings started on time.

Commentary

The INC is now entering its countdown phase as INC-4 comes to a
close. INC-5 in New York remains as the critical negotiating
session even with scheduling of an INC-6 in April or May. It is
critical that both the bureau and governments embark on an
intensive consultative effort during the intersessional period
before INC-5. A serious effort should also be made to further
consolidate the text so that it reflects a negotiating draft with
clearly defined areas of convergence and disagreement. Countries
must revisit their negotiating positions and the February session
must be structured in such a way as to allow true negotiations.

At the same time it is imperative that substance not be
sacrificed. Moreover, it is time that the INC seriously and
critically examine the legal structure of the convention they are
creating. Is it the flexible and innovative legal instrument that
so many have called for, or is it an old-fashioned model?

The INC should seriously consider trading in that model -
convention and protocols - for a more responsive one also
representing an advance in international law as suggested in the
AOSIS proposals on commitments, which would provide more
authority to the conference of parties.

Finally, it is not too early for countries to begin thinking of
the follow-up process beyond Rio for the climate convention. It
is vital that greenhouse gas reductions are made, national plans
prepared, states meet and develop further controls and that some
form of Secretariat continues before entry into force of the
treaty.

15) John Sununu: Farewell to the President's 'Pit Bull'

By Eco Staff

John Sununu, White House Chief of Staff from January 1989 until
last Sunday, earned a reputation as the Bush Administration's
leading "hardliner" on global warming policy. An engineer by
training, Sununu expressed skepticism over the world scientific
community's projections of climate change. In early 1991 he said
"I have a problem with" the gloom-and-doom approach to [climate
change] that a lot of people have taken, based on some very
preliminary analysis and modeling. I have a rule of thumb," he
continued, "that if you can't predict the past with a model, you
ought not believe you can predict the future." A persistent
rumour was that Sununu tinkered with a simple climate model run
on a personal computer in the White House, so that he could
better critique the super-computer models.

Sununu developed a habit of making last-minute changes on US
policy just in advance of major Presidential speeches or
international climate events. In May of 1989, Sununu blocked as
"premature" a proposal by EPA Administrator William Reilly that
the US announce its support of an international global warming
treaty at a Geneva meeting of the IPCC. After a week of heavy
criticism from the US Congress and the press, the White House
reversed itself; on the last day of the IPCC meeting the US
announced its support for climate negotiations.

At the February 1990 IPCC meeting Washington, Sununu made a more
high-profile intervention, changing the draft text of President
Bush's opening speech, which had been cleared by Reilly (EPA),
Secretary of State Baker, Presidential science adviser Bromley
and Energy Secretary Watkins.

The speech changed from one highlighting US initiatives to
respond to climate change, to one stressing the uncertainties in
the science. Speaking on national television the day before the
President's speech, Sununu defended the changes, saying, "there's
a little tendency by some of the faceless bureaucrats on the
environmental side to try and create a policy in this country
that cuts off our use of coal, oil and natural gas."

Pressed by reporters to explain President Bush's revised IPCC
speech in relation to the President's famous 1988 "White House
effect" campaign pledge; that "as President, I intend to do
something about global warming," spokesperson Marlin Fitzwater
explained that the President had "changed his mind." One observer
commented "it's clear that what destroyed the President's resolve
on the 'White House effect' was 'the Sununu effect'."

Sununu's staunch opposition to specific commitments on CO2 and
other greenhouse gases left the US climate treaty negotiators
with little room to manoeuvre. As one magazine put it after the
opening session in Chantilly, "Sununu and his staff kept US
negotiators on a tight leash, monitoring developments by
telephone." Sununu rejected criticism of the US stance in
Chantilly, saying "everyone seems to want to come over here and
tell us what they would like us to do. We're saying we've done a
great deal, for a lot of different reasons."

Eco editors will miss John Sununu: NGOs probably won't.

16) US Children Act on Global Warming

By Eco Reporter

Contrary to the impression created by the US delegation, US
citizens are concerned about climate change and want the Bush
Administration to take action.

In the "CO2 Challenge," school children across North America are
asking President Bush to promise that the US will do its fair
share to stop global warming.

In turn, these same children are each working on energy-saving
steps for their families to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by
one ton.

The children are writing letters to the President, which they
will deliver to the White House late in January, calling for him
to make progress in the February climate talks in New York.

In Florida, one of the early primary states in the presidential
campaign, concern about global warming dominated the recent state
democratic convention.

Approximately 2,000 delegates to the convention, and all of the
presidential candidates, wore STOP GLOBAL WARMING badges.

Global warming and energy policy were featured topics in the
discussions between the candidates and delegate caucuses.

Presidential candidates travelling to New Hampshire are also
having to answer to voters about climate change.

Candidates Tom Harkin, Jerry Brown, and Paul Tsongas have
supported reductions in carbon dioxide emissions by the US and
other industrialized countries.

Political workers in the state noted that activists are giving
high priority to candidates' answers on global warming and not
just local environmental concerns.

17) FOR MORE INFORMATION:

For enquiries and response to ECO:
ECO Editorial Staff
Salle Mandarin Room, Intercontinental Hotel, Geneva
Tel. +41 022 740 0545, Fax +41 022 734 8425.

           Applelink -    uk.region1

For Press enquiries to particular NGO spokespersons:
The Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) Room
Intercontinental Hotel, Geneva
Telephone: +41 22 734 6091

Every issue of ECO will be posted in full to the en.climate and
climate.news conferences on the APC networks and the newsgroup
sci.environment on Usenet.

For information about electronic mail and conference distribution
of ECO, contact E-mail coordinator, Lelani Arris


For information about fax distribution of ECO contact Media Natura

For information about Media Natura:
Media Natura Project Manager : Chris Bligh
Telephone (+44) 71 240 2936/ 71 497 2673/ 71 497 2712
FAX: (+44) 71 240 2291

To find out more about Media Natura please write to Media
Natura, 21 Tower Street, London WC2H 9NS, United Kingdom

18) CREDITS AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:

ECO edited by Chris Rose and Phil Hurst;
production managers Alister Sieghart and Richard Elen.

Assistance from: Scott Hajost, T J Glauthier, Eileen Quinn, Anna
Torres, Cecilia Fortes, Nora Ibrahim, Agus Sari, Alden Meyer,
Michael Oppenheimer and all NGOs. Special Thanks to Debbie Good!

Eco has been brought to you by a combination of blind faith,
intuition, sound scientific expertise, and pure luck. We hope
you've enjoyed it.

Published by Media Natura for the Climate Action Network with the
generous support of the following: EDF, WWF International, Apple
Computer, Aldus UK, Agfa Gevaert AG, Creative Technology
Associates, Computers Unlimited, Industrade AG, Microsoft,
MCMXCIX, Shades and Characters Ltd., Sitka, Software Club.

Electronic mail distribution coordinator Lelani Arris, EcoNet
Energy and Climate Information Exchange (US), supported by a grant
from the Joyce Mertz-Gilmore Foundation.

Project Management Chris Bligh , Media Natura, 21 Tower Street,
London WC2H 9NS Tel (+44) 71 240 2936 Fax (+44) 71 240 2291.

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Tue, 07 Jun 1994 11:47:00 GMT
 
 [ 1 post ] 

 Relevant Pages 

1. ECO GENEVA (INC) #3 June 20, 1991 (

2. ECO GENEVA #8 - Dec 18, 1991 (29K)

3. ECO NAIROBI #10 - Sept 20, 1991 (32

4. ECO Geneva (INC6) #2 Dec 10 92 (27

5. ECO GENEVA (INC) #6 June 25, 1991 (

6. ECO GENEVA (INC) #5 June 24, 1991 (

7. ECO GENEVA (INC) #4 June 23, 1991 (

8. ECO GENEVA (INC) #7 June 26, 1991 (

9. ECO GENEVA (INC) #4A June 23, 1991

10. ECO GENEVA (INC) #2A June 19, 1991

11. ECO GENEVA (INC) #1 June 18, 1991

12. ECO GENEVA (INC) #8 June 27, 1991 (


 
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