Readers of Futuribles are well aware of the issues related to the changes in climate caused by human agency which, after long and bitter scientific wrangling, are at the heart of a complex process of international negotiations over the last ten years.
Jacques Varet brings us up to date on the most recent developments in the field of climate change, in particular the last report of the IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change), which shows that the average ground temperature could rise by between 1.4 and 8° Celsius between 1990 and 2100, i.e. between 2 and 50 times more than in the previous hundred years. He surveys the causes and the consequences as they are currently understood.
Jacques Varet goes on to review the way that the international negotiations have evolved, especially since the Earth Summit in Rio (1992) and up to the conference planned for Johannesburg in September 2002, and of course including the Kyoto meeting at which for the first time an agreement - in principle legally binding - was made that set precise targets for the reduction of emissions by the industrialized countries.
A few months ahead of the Johannesburg conference, Jacques Varet looks at the current stance of various countries or groups of nations. He examines the key issues and difficulties in these negotiations, which are far from over, and the problems of implementing the measures being proposed.