Greenhouse gas emissions 'to rise'
BBCNews.com,June 5, 2003
Greenhouse gas emissions from industrialised nations are likely to grow over the next few years, despite international agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol, says a United Nations report.
The findings come as 190 member countries of the UN Climate Change Convention meet in Germany to discuss detailed plans for cutting emissions.
The UN report - published on the eve of the meeting - says emissions in industrialised nations are estimated to grow by around 10% by the year 2010.
Although the Kyoto Protocol - signed in 1997 - has begun to shape world climate policy, it has not yet been ratified by enough countries to become international law.
The report found that developed countries as a whole had succeeded by 2000 in one of the convention's first goals - to bring greenhouse gas emissions down to 1990 levels.
This was due in part to decreasing emissions from former Soviet bloc countries as their economic outputs sharply declined, said the report.
But there were hefty rises in emissions from countries such as the United States and Australia, which have refused to sign the Kyoto agreement.
Even some nations that have ratified it - such as Canada and Japan - still permitted major increases in greenhouse gases, said the report.
With the Eastern European economy now starting to recover, and member countries themselves predicting a rise in emissions, the UN says the targets set by Kyoto will not be met.
"These findings clearly demonstrate that stronger and more creative policies will be needed," said Joke Waller-Hunt, executive secretary of the convention.
To become binding, the Kyoto Protocol needs to be ratified by states accounting for more than half the industrialised world's 1990 emissions levels.
It is currently waiting to be ratified by Russia - a move that would make it law, and allow for a raft of tougher measures to cut greenhouse gases.