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Scientist says Kyoto treaty not enough to stop global warning
September 13, 2000 Web posted at: 10:27 AM EDT (1427 GMT)
CANBERRA, Australia (Reuters) -- Even full adherence to the Kyoto agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions would have little impact on global warming, a leading Australian scientist said on Wednesday.
Graeme Pearman, chief of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Australia's leading scientific body, said even stopping the growth of greenhouse gas emissions will not be enough to prevent climate change.
"It is highly unlikely that we will see such stabilization (of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations) except perhaps in the latter part of this century, and that will be levels at least double and perhaps triple pre-industrial levels," Pearman said in a speech to the National Press Club in Australia's capital Canberra.
"Even full adherence to the Kyoto Protocol will make little impact on this ... therefore we must expect that there will be some climate change as a result of these increases."
Many scientists say an increase in greenhouse gases is trapping a greater amount of the sun's heat in the atmosphere, causing a warming of the surface of the earth and leading to changes in climate.
Such changes are predicted to include rising sea levels, higher rainfall in some areas and drier weather in other parts of the world.
The Kyoto Protocol pledged by industrialized nations in 1997 commits them to cut their emissions of greenhouse gases to an average 5.2 percent below the 1990 level by 2008-2012.
But the protocol does not include developing countries, and allows some industrial nations who are big users of coal and petroleum, like Australia, to continue to increase emissions.
Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, which is released from burning fossil fuels, and methane.
Pearman said the current efforts to cut the heat-trapping emissions from burning fossil fuels will be overwhelmed by unstoppable population growth and industrial development.
He was still optimistic that a better solution than Kyoto-like agreements would be reached, either by governments or the scientific community, in the years ahead.
"It's not an easy issue, but it is something that will be developing -- Kyoto is not the answer, that's all I'm saying, that we need to develop over the next few decades," he said.
The Kyoto Protocol has been widely criticized for its lack of enforcement and a perception that many nations who signed have no intention of meeting their targets.
After three years of negotiations, the Kyoto signatories have still not agreed if there should be sanctions for countries which fail to meet their reductions targets, as proposed by the 15-nation European Union, and who will impose them.
The next global meeting on climate change, the sixth Conference of Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change is being held in The Hague in November.
It is expected to enforce the Kyoto Protocol by hammering out concrete measures for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.
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