John Major, the Prime Minister, in a determined effort to sustain the momentum on green issues after the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro last month, has written to the other six leaders of the Group of Seven rich industrial democracies setting out a detailed eight-point plan to be acted upon by the end of 1993.
The Prime Minister's aim at the three-day summit in Munich is to achieve in a small and powerful forum what was unattainable at the gathering of 110 leaders from rich and poor states.
Although a warm welcome for the British plan is far from assured, Mr Major has at least succeeded in placing green issues on the agenda. He has urged his colleagues to ratify the convention on climate change, which calls for the stabilisation of carbon dioxide emissions at 1990 levels by the year 2000. To ensure the commitment of the industrial world, Mr Major has pressed the G7 to publish precise plans of how this target will be met. Britain believes the convention could be partly financed by more than doubling the World Bank's Global Environment Fund, worth about dollars 1.5bn ( pounds 780m). But in an effort to avoid embarrassing President George Bush, who was cast in the role of pariah at the Earth Summit, he has urged only that the Seven publish their plans on how they will protect endangered species, leaving aside a request for ratification of the convention. The United States was alone in refusing to sign this treaty because of its apparent threat to the flourishing American biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.
The Prime Minister also wants the G7 to flesh out the vague Rio principles on forest conservation. In a further advance on the Earth Summit Mr Major has asked the other rich industrial states to implement 'Agenda 21'. This 800- page plan describes how sustainable development can be achieved - in which growth can occur without compromising economic expansion in future years through severe depletion of non-renewable resources or degradation of the environment.
The Prime Minister has called on the G7 to back the establishment of a United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, something they failed to do at Rio, to help achieve this goal.
Leading article, page 20
William Rees-Mogg, page 21
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