Nations Meet Over Global Warming

Copyright 1998 Associated Press
September 27, 1998

OTTAWA (AP) — Top environmental officials from 22 nations adjourned a conference Saturday after narrowing differences over steps to implement the international treaty to combat global warming.

Agreement was near on a plan calling for companies in developed countries to help developing nations reduce their so-called greenhouse gas emissions, Canadian Environment Minister Christine Stewart and her Brazilian counterpart, Jose Israel Vargas, told reporters at the conclusion of the two-day meeting.

Under an agreement reached last year by 160 nations in Kyoto, Japan, major industrial countries are required by the years 2008 to 2012 to cut greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 5.2 percent from 1990 levels.

The pact allows industrial nations to meet their obligations to reduce the gases by helping developing countries reduce theirs.

The plan discussed this week in the Canadian capital is viewed by officials as a way for developing nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without curbing their economic progress.

"I think (the mechanism) creates a friendly symmetry between developing countries and developed countries like Canada," Vargas said.

Scientists say rising concentrations of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere are warming the surface temperature of the Earth and disrupting weather patterns.

They predict that if current pollution trends continue, there will be more frequent extreme weather events such as heat waves, droughts, storms and floods, and sea levels will rise.

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