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This issue of Tiempo includes two articles commenting on critical issues with regard to the science of global environmental change and society’s response to global change.

In the first article, Jaro Mayda argues that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change risks placing too much emphasis on quantification when dealing with social and economic aspects of the issue, particularly policy implications at the local and regional level. He points out that due attention must be paid to the intuitive element of decision making and to capacity building.

In the second article, Kirill Ya. Kondratyev identifies priorities for global change research and policy. He argues that climate change should be seen as only one aspect of a wider problem and presents the equivalent of an Earth Charter, based on the principle of biotic regulation of the environment.

Julia Curtis and Malik Amin Aslam then describe the background to the Clean Development Mechanism which has emerged in the climate negotiations as a new focus for partnership between North and South.

In response to Feysal Ahmed Yusuf’s account of desertification in Somalia in Issue 26, which he described as “heartrending,” Sayyed Ahang Kowsar reports on a method of desertification control undertaken in Iran. Describing floodwater as the “softest hardware” for desertification control, he outlines various methods through which floodwater has successfully been used to rehabilitate a desert region and discusses the potential for carbon sequestration.

We report on the latest stage of the climate negotiations that took place in Bonn, Germany, in June 1998. Though progress was made, discussions stalled over key issues such as emissions trading. Finally, we assess the final stages of the current El Niño event as it wanes and gives way to its little sister La Niña and present the first global temperature data for 1998.

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