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November 4, 2002
Volume 80, Number 44
CENEAR 80 44 p. 9
ISSN 0009-2347


Latest talks focus on adapting to global warming; Kyoto protocol sidelined


On Oct. 23, the 8th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) opened in New Delhi, India, to discuss global warming. But so far, the discussion has focused on ways to adapt to climate change, rather than cutting CO2 emissions.

SANDS TO ENERGY A just-opened steam-assisted facility in Fort McMurray, Alberta, is expected to produce 30,000 barrels of energy products per day from tar sands by the end of 2003.
The most controversial topic was a draft document called the "New Delhi Ministerial Declaration on Climate Change and Sustainable Development." Although it discusses climate change, it makes no references to the Kyoto protocol that establishes targets for reductions in greenhouse gases. It says instead that developed countries should carry out their commitments under UNFCCC.

Reaction to the declaration split along predictable lines. The European Union and environmental activists criticized it because it slights the Kyoto protocol, but the U.S., Canada, and Australia were pleased. A group of developing countries called the G-77 and China say the declaration should include a call to all parties to ratify the protocol. They also want more emphasis on the harmful effects of climate change and on the value of technology transfer to help developing countries control their emissions.

The meeting is scheduled to conclude Nov. 1, when the conferees are expected to adopt the New Delhi declaration.

Meanwhile, Russia appears to be reneging on its promise to ratify the Kyoto protocol. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov had said Russia hoped to ratify the accord in a few months. Now, delegates in New Delhi say Russia has sent the protocol documents to ministers for their assessment and will take up to one year to decide on ratification. Russia must ratify the agreement for it to go into effect.

In a related development, the energy and environment ministers of Canada's provinces and territories unanimously called on Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien to delay the scheduled December ratification of the protocol until he meets with the nation's provincial premiers to discuss its impact. The push for a delay was led by Alberta, which, with its energy-rich tar sand deposits and coal-based electricity production, fears the protocol could cost it over $8 billion and thousands of jobs a year. So far, Chrétien has rejected the request.


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Copyright © 2002 American Chemical Society

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