11 December 1997

The Kyoto world climate summit ended with an agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions. The EU must cut emissions by 8%, the US 7% and Japan 6% by the year 2010. Other industrialised countries must implement a general 6% reduction. The legally binding targets were forced through at the last minute following an intervention by conference chairman Raul Estrada-Oyuela. The US originally sought similar commitments from developing countries, but it was later dropped. The compromise deal allows companies from industrial nations to earn credits against their emission targets by investing in climate-friendly technologies in developing countries.

The treaty may still face rejection by the US Senate. “What we have here is not ratifiable in the Senate in my judgment,” said Democrat senator John Kerry.