Colette Wabnitz C.C.C.Wabnitz at
Tue Nov 14 17:21:10 EST 2000

Hello everyone,

Reading the following article in the news this morning underlined my
general feeling of necessity for taking action on the Kyoto Protocol.  
This is exactly what was also highlighted by Don McAllister in his last
message to us all, namely: "By all means let's model, but simultaneously
put serious resources into cutting emissions ".  Research has shown us all
that our world is 'heating up' fast, now it's time to do something about

- Colette

to hammer together a treaty to tackle global warming, the biggest
environmental threat in human history, gets underway today, reports AFP.
But fears are widening that the marathon talks, already bogged down by
years of squabbles, could be a waste of time if Texas oilman George W.
Bush enters the White House. The treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, commits
developed countries to trimming outputs of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other
gases blamed for the "greenhouse" effect. Byproducts from fossil fuels and
agriculture, these carbon gases hang in the lower atmosphere like an
invisible blanket, gradually forcing the air temperature to rise. But the
instrument chosen to tackle the looming peril is unwieldy and hobbled by
national interests. Signed in 1997 under UN auspices as a "framework"
treaty, Kyoto is awaiting the mechanisms that will give it shape and the
ratification that will give it life. In the words of one exasperated
delegate, the protocol "bears out the proverb that a camel is really a
horse designed by a committee." Laden with untested ideas, complex
concessions to poor countries and an arcane evaluation of the
CO2-absorbing powers of forests, the process has been dogged by problems
since its inception. Initially murky and often challenged when the
phenomenon was first identified around a decade ago, the scientific data
on global warming are now clearer and convincing. The conclusion:
depending on how quickly the world acts to brake gas emissions, the
atmospheric temperature over the next century will rise significantly. At
the least, the increase will boost rainfall in the northern hemisphere and
cause greater dryness in warmer latitudes.  At the worst, the polar
icecaps will shrink and the seas will expand, making ocean levels rise --
possibly by enough to drown low-lying island states such as the Maldives
and parts of delta nations such as Bangladesh. In other news, the
Financial Times (11/13, p.1) reports that talks on proposals to cut
greenhouse gas emissions which begin today in The Hague could be
jeopardized by the EU's unwillingness to negotiate on some key issues,
Japans' chief negotiator has warned. Meanwhile, the International Herald
Tribune (11/13, p.7) writes that a bitter clash between the US and Europe
threaten to block agreement on how to comply with an international treaty
on global warming when representatives from more than 150 countries gather
today in The Hague.  (This summary is prepared by the External Affairs
Department of the World Bank. All material is taken directly from
published and copyright wire service stories and newspaper articles.)

                   \\\\            Colette Wabnitz
                .-'    `-.         Department of Marine Sciences and Tropical Coastal Management
             .-'          '.       Centre for Tropical Coastal Management
           .'               '-.    Ridley Building 
     (`-.-'            {{ (*) /    University of Newcastle
      } .'~-.                _\    Newcastle upon Tyne  
      (/     ~-.       .;;'~       NE1 7RU
              ///~~''~             Tel: 0191 222 5345
                                   Fax: 0191 222 7891

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