Kyoto Earth Summit Information Center:
Kyoto, Japan - Observers here believe it is increasingly likely that the Kyoto global warming conference will conclude without a treaty. One of the reasons for this is that the Berlin Mandate, an agreement which was signed two years ago that explicitly exempts developing nations from any emissions reductions targets agreed to here, is set to expire at the conclusion of the conference. The Clinton Administration, therefore, has every incentive to put off a final decision on targets and timetables until the next global warming summit, scheduled for Buenos Aires for November 1998. In Buenos Aires, the G-77 developing nations will have less leverage which will better position Clinton Administration negotiators to comply with Senate demands that G-77 countries be included in any treaty they negotiate.
There are three possible outcomes of the Kyoto summit: 1) a treaty is negotiated and signed; 2) negotiations break-off altogether as a result of irreconcilable differences; or 3) a new "mandate" is signed, in which all nations participating in the Kyoto conference agree to continue talks and conclude a treaty at some future date.
At this point, the signing of a new mandate appears to be the most likely scenario due to the intransigence of the developing nations' negotiators, particularly China's, and the fact that the "Berlin Mandate" is set to expire. U.S. Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) essentially endorsed a mandate strategy in a letter to President Clinton on November 25.
"Those who are concerned about the consequences of climate change should consider that agreeing to only half a loaf -- that binds only Annex I industrialized nations to emissions limitations -- will subject a protocol to intense domestic criticism as premature, unbalanced and inequitable," Senator Byrd wrote. "A Kyoto Mandate could establish a framework to continue the negotiations, on the basis that this is a global problem requiring global solutions and should be paced and constructed accordingly."
Senator Byrd reiterated these sentiments in a statement released yesterday.
In other developments, representatives of the AFL-CIO and the United Mineworkers held a press conference here today in which they again insisted that developing countries be included in any agreement reached here. Organized labor, which donated $934,454 in soft money donations to the Democratic Party during the first six months of 1997 alone, is reportedly upset because it has had scarcely any impact upon the Kyoto negotiations.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute's Fred Smith and the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow's David Rothbard debated Friends of the Earth's Tony Juniper and the World Wide Fund for Nature's Nick Mabey for an hour and one-half today in an event entitled "Scorched Earth or Scorched Economy?" In a somewhat ironic twist, public relations work for both sides of the debate was reportedly conducted by Fenton Communications, long a favorite of the ideological left. During the 1980s, Fenton Communications had contracts with the Christic Institute and the communist governments of Angola and Nicaragua. Fenton Communications is perhaps best known, however, for its role in creating the alar scare. Nevertheless, Fenton's press materials were reportedly even-handed.