UN: Lack of ‘Strong’ CO2 Goals May Hurt Climate Talks

by | Aug 10, 2009

emissions21If before the Copenhagen talks there aren’t strong commitments from rich nations to curb their 2020 CO2 emissions, the global climate treaty will be crippled, according to the UN’s top climate official, reports AFP.

Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) told AFP that he would not put a number on “strong commitment,” however; he has often cited a 25 to 40 percent range, which is noted in the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, according to AFP.

A key disagreement between developing and rich nations has resulted in a stalemate. Developing countries such as China, India and Brazil say industrialized countries are historically responsible for global warming and should cut their emissions by up to 40 percent by 2020, while rich countries want emerging countries to make firm commitments, although smaller, to reduce their carbon emissions, reports AFP.

Yu Qingtai, the Chinese foreign ministry’s climate-change negotiator, said during a recent briefing that the 40 percent reduction proposed by India and China was fair, reports Bloomberg. Qingtai also noted in the article that China would be focusing on energy efficiency, renewables, reforestation and public awareness.

Both China and India have stated they will not set carbon caps. However, South Korea and Mexico recently announced that they will set carbon emission targets ahead of the global climate meeting in Copenhagen this December, which may help to push developing countries like China and India to set their own goals to curb emissions.

Currently, the European Union has pledged to cut its emissions by 20 percent by the end of the next decade, and by 30 percent if other rich nations follow suit, reports AFP. The U.S. plans to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020.

In addition, the rising cost to help poor nations mitigate their emissions is causing some concern among rich nations in the midst of tough economic conditions. De Boer has called for an initial pledge in Copenhagen of $10 billion, according to AFP.

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