Rich Nations Must Raise 2020 Targets – WRI

Commitments made by developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, when added together, fall short of stabilizing global temperatures at a level that averts dangerous climate change, according to a new report published a climate talks in Bangkock by the World Resources Institute.

"Comparability of Annex I Emission Reduction Pledges" examines the pledges made by the European Union, Japan, Russia, New Zealand, Australia, Norway, Belarus, Ukraine and Canada  as negotiations on a new global climate agreement near their climax in Copenhagen this December. Also included is the United States’s emission reductions based on the American Clean Energy and Security Act passed by the House of Representatives in June.

WRI’s analysis reveals that commitments by these industrialized country parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) would result in a 10 to 24% reduction of global emissions below 1990 levels by 2020.

This is less than the 25 to 40% range of emission reductions that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states would be necessary for stabilizing concentrations of carbon dioxide at 450ppm, a level associated with a 52% risk of overshooting a two degrees Celsius goal. Both the G8 and the Major Economies Forum–representing the world’s 17 leading economies–recently agreed to a goal of limiting average global temperature rise to two degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels.

“Our analysis provides a preliminary picture of where the world is headed in the run-up to Copenhagen,” said Jennifer Morgan, director of WRI’s climate and energy program. “While emission reduction commitments by these countries could have an important and potentially substantial impact, they will not be enough to meet recommendations of IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report. WRI therefore urges industrialized countries to bring forward more ambitious pledges to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.”

The report, which covers pledges by countries responsible for 98% of all developed country emissions, uses three metrics to compare country commitments–per capita reductions, emission intensity reductions, and absolute reductions. The 10 to 24% reduction is based on the inclusion or omission of factors, such as changes in land use, forestry data and low vs. high pledges. Other key findings include:

  • The choice of metrics used by countries (such as whether to include offsets, land-use change or forestry emissions) can alter their emission reduction calculations significantly.
  • High regulatory standards and robust accounting rules will be critical to ensure that international emission reductions are real and additional.

In Related News…

Senior G77 members, including negotiators from South Africa, China and OPEC countries, walked out of an informal negotiating session Tuesday, stating concerns that rich nations are trying to do away with current requirements under the Kyoto Protocol. 

Read Reuters coverage at the link below.

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