INC V Part 2New York April May 1992

One hundred fifty-seven states attended the second session of INC V, with the pressure mounting to achieve consensus in time for the Rio Earth Summit. Prospects looked bleak in April as the United States prepared to attend a meeting of key delegations in Paris designed to try and save the INC process. The United States was firm on its position. The Washington Post reported that

[t]he US has been the chief stumbling block to an agreement and it is not expected to budge in Paris. . . . After two Cabinet-level meetings in the past two weeks, including one attended by President Bush, the administration will continue to oppose specific limits on the pollutant said to be most responsible for heating up Earth's atmosphere.181

The deadlock lasted until the eve of INC V, when the United States and the UK came up with a compromise about the language on commitments to stabilize greenhouse gases.182 Essentially, the United States won the day, and the language presented at the second session of INC V reflected the U.S. desire to exclude specific targets. "The preliminary terms of the pact . . . include an agreement by the world's industrialized nations to contain emissions of 'greenhouse' gases at 1990 levels. . . . The provisions . . . would not be binding."183 In addition, the principle of common but differentiated responsibility—highlighting the need for all states to participate, but recognizing different levels of blame and ability to address climate change—was also cemented.

The last hurdle to overcome was the specifics of the financial assistance. This last debate centered on the Southern desire to initiate a new institution to disburse new and additional funds, and the Northern commitment to use the GEF. The compromise reached at INC V was the naming of the GEF as the interim financial mechanism.184 With the last wrangling complete, the nations of the world prepared to sign the FCCC at the Earth Summit.

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