Climate talks agree deadline

After two weeks of negotiations between 170 nations, an agreement was reached in Buenos Aires last Saturday 14 November on deadlines for finalising outstanding details of the Kyoto Protocol to achieve a 5% reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases.

“We now have an action plan with political timetables,” said the Convention’s Executive Secretary, “the crunch will come at the sixth session of the Conference of the Parties at the end of year 2000”.

In addition to agreeing a timetable for concluding agreements on different aspects of implementation, the main signs of progress from Buenos Aires were, an undertaking by Argentina to commit to voluntary emissions reductions, an announcement by Kazakhstan that it is willing to join developed countries in agreeing to legally binding reductions, and the signing of the Convention by the USA.

The United States became the 60th country to sign the Convention, but to date only Fiji and Antigua and Barbuda have ratified it. The next session (COP 5) will be held in late 1999.

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