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Worldwatch Calls Climate Treaty Implementation a Sham

March 5, 1995

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Governments pursuing business-as-usual environmental policies are turning a 1992 treaty to curb global warming into ``an international joke,″ according to a magazine published by an environmental organization.

In its March-April issue, World Watch magazine says the 166 nations that signed the treaty at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro should ``face the reality that, so far, the treaty has had little effect, and the world is still far from turning the climate problem around.″

Nearly three years after agreeing to curb releases into the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and other gases that contribute to rising average temperatures on the planet, ``the world’s governments have failed to take effective action to reduce carbon emissions,″ asserted the article, titled ``Getting Warmer.″

It attributed the inaction to the treaty’s lack of a binding mandate to reduce gas emissions, resisted by the United States during the Bush administration.

The article said most nations favored such a mandate, ``but the vehement opposition of the United States resulted in a last-minute compromise″ which suggests _ but does not require _ that industrial countries hold emissions to the 1990 level by the year 2000.

The Rio pact’s member nations are slated to gather for a review conference in Berlin on March 28.

World Watch is published by Worldwatch Institute, a private research and environment-monitoring organization based in Washington.

The article urged that the Berlin conference clarify requirements, establish penalties for failure to comply and publicize independent measurement of greenhouse gas emissions by the top 25 countries.

``Public shaming could hurt a country’s ability to do business in an increasingly global marketplace,″ said the article, written by Worldwatch Institute Vice President Christopher Flavin and researcher Odil Tunali.

It also called for changing World Bank lending priorities from coal power plants to solar, wind and other low-carbon energy technologies, and to rail and public transport.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Rafe Pomerance, chief U.S. negotiator on climate issues, said in an interview that the Clinton administration’s goal in Berlin will be to strengthen commitments and establish policy guidelines aimed at mitigating climate change immediately after the turn of the century.

Without passing new regulations, the administration has encouraged 800 electric utilities to agree to voluntary gas-emissions reduction and 1,650 organizations to reduce electric-lighting use by 47 percent, Pomerance said.

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