Press Release: New Study Provides Framework To Determine Fair Commitments For All Countries In Global Climate Treaty

For Immediate Release:
October 29, 1998

Contact: Kelly Sullivan
             (202) 289-5900

New Study Provides Framework To Determine Fair Commitments For All Countries In Global Climate Treaty

Using Country-Specific Data, Report Addresses Major Obstacle Of Contributions By Industrialized and Developing Nations

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A new study released today by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change could help address one of the most significant and polarized issues in the debate over a global climate change treaty. The examination of global equity, released just days before the next major meeting of Framework Convention on Climate Change in Buenos Aires, for the first time differentiates the obligations of countries based on three criteria: responsibility for the emissions that cause climate change, standard of living or the ability to pay for mitigation, and the opportunity countries have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Using these criteria, the report, "Equity and Global Climate Change," suggests that countries can be grouped into three tiers each with a different level of commitment to reduce emissions. The first tier is comprised of countries that must act now. The second tier includes countries that should act now but differently than the first tier. And, the third tier is made up of countries that could act now if feasible.

"We cannot begin to address the climate change issue until we are able to resolve what is fair to expect of each country," said Eileen Claussen, Pew Center Executive Director and a co-author of the report. "Until now, people have assumed that there would be one standard for the industrialized countries and another for developing countries. To tackle the climate change problem fairly and effectively, we must get beyond these simple divisions and agree upon a sound and constructive framework."

The Pew Center on Global Climate Change analysis confirms many assumptions about the responsibilities of certain countries but it also produces some surprises. For example, under the framework suggested by the study:

Tier one is comprised of 30 countries that have the greatest obligation to act because of their high emissions and standard of living. Many of these countries also have opportunities to improve their energy efficiency. This tier covers most industrialized countries including the U.S. and European nations, but also countries like Argentina and South Korea.

Tier two includes 52 countries that fall in the middle range using the three criteria. These countries should act in order for the international community to effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but their obligations should be somewhat different than the first tier, typically because their standard of living is below the world average. Both developed and developing countries fall into this tier including China, India, Brazil, Russia, and Bulgaria.

Tier three countries, 74 in total, contribute less to the problem and have fewer resources to mitigate their emissions. This tier includes countries like Vietnam, Bolivia and Morocco.

Along with the release of its report, the Pew Center On Global Climate Change will begin running advertising in both US and international publications. Featuring a baseball scene, the ads say, "Its time to step up to the plate on climate change," and call on each country to take the field, work to the best of its abilities and do its fair share to beat the climate change problem.

"There should be no debate over the fact that the solution to global climate change requires the support of the entire international community," Claussen said. "The framework established by this report can help bridge the political divide that has stood in the way of international action and created uncertainty in markets across the globe."

A copy of the report, "Equity and Global Climate Change," is available on the Pew Center web site at

The Pew Center was established in May 1998 by the Pew Charitable Trusts, one of the nation's largest philanthropies and an influential voice in efforts to improve the quality of America's environment. The Pew Center is conducting studies, launching public education efforts, promoting climate change solutions globally and working with businesses to develop marketplace solutions to reduce greenhouse gases. The Pew Center is led by Eileen Claussen the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.

The Pew Center's Business Environmental Leadership Council includes: Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.; American Electric Power Company; Baxter International Inc.; Boeing; BP America; CH2M HILL; DuPont; Enron Corp.; Holnam Inc.; Intercontinental Energy Corporation; International Paper; Lockheed Martin; Maytag Corporation; The Sun Company; 3M; Toyota; United Technologies; U.S. Generating Company; Weyerhaeuser and Whirlpool. DuPont and CH2M HILL are the two newest members of the council, announced earlier today.

Click here to read a copy of the report, "Equity and Global Climate Change."