Convention sets the ball rolling on greenhouse gases

The new framework Convention on Climate Change, completed in draft at a meeting in New York early in May, has had an unjustifiably bad press. Its failure to impose absolutely binding obligations on developed countries to stabilise their greenhouse gas emissions is no catastrophe. And the mechanisms it has created for the review of national emission abatement programmes and the transfer of finance to developing nations are major strides towards effective and equitable control of greenhouse gases.

The unmistakable sound of chuckling could be heard from the White House on 9 May. The Bush administration's strategy of dangling the threat that the President would not attend the Earth Summit in Brazil if the global Convention on Climate Change contained numerical targets on greenhouse gas emissions had been bought by the Europeans. Within hours of the completion of the draft Convention text in New York, White House officials were reassuring

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