Understanding and Engaging the Developing Countries:

Necessary steps to successfully combating Global Climate Change

 

SECTION 1
The Big Picture

SECTION 2
What's The Hold Up?

SECTION 3
Perspectives of the Developing World

SECTION 4
Strategies To Engage Countries

SECTION 5
Choices: Corporate or "To Each Her Own"

 




 

I.    THE BIG PICTURE

Most scientists agree that the threat of global warming is real.1  The earth’s temperature is rising and evidence suggests that humans are responsible. In 1995, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirmed that there is a discernible human influence on climate change. Though there are uncertainties regarding the magnitude and timing, models predict that the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations will cause changes in climate locally, regionally, and globally. "The best current predictions suggest that the rate of climate change could far exceed any natural changes that have occurred in the past 10,000 years." Further, any "human-induced change that does occur is not likely to be reversed for many decades or even centuries because of the long atmospheric lifetimes of the greenhouse gases and the inertia of the system."3

 At the United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the international community responded to this threat with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).4 The UNFCCC is the first international agreement to address climate change. Its stated goal is the "stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system."5 The UNFCCC entered into force on March 21, 1994 and has been ratified or acceded to by 180 parties.6

Subsequent protocols to the UNFCCC are to build upon the principles first envisioned at Rio Presently before the international community is the Kyoto Protocol.7 The Kyoto Protocol proposes binding targets and timetables for the reduction of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the developed countries.8 It is the strongest legal instrument addressing Global climate to date and it enters into force could be big step in slowing GHG emission growth.

 The protocol can enter into force only upon the ratification of Annex I Parties, which account in total for at least 55% of the total carbon dioxide emissions for 1990 from that group. As of October 1999, the Protocol has received only 84 signatories and has not been ratified by even one of the major players.9  The United States has gone so far as to adopt U.S. Senate Resolution 98, also referred to as the Byrd-Hagel Resolution.10  In this resolution, the United States declares that it will not ratify any agreement that would: (A) mandate commitments to limit or reduce GHG emissions for the Developed Country Parties, unless the agreement also mandates new specific scheduled commitments to limit or reduce GHG emissions for the Developing Country Parties within the same compliance period, or (B) would result in serious harm to the economy of the United States.11

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