Update on Copenhagen

US President Barack Obama on Friday announced that he would attend the end of the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit, when other world leaders will be present, instead of the beginning of the summit, as originally planned.

The White House said the change of plans is due to growing momentum for a political agreement from the Summit, which begins today and runs through December 18 in Denmark. 

More than 100 heads of state are expected to attend the conference. 

Potential for Success

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told Danish daily newspaper Berlingske Tidende he is optimistic that the conference will produce an agreement all member states will sign. "We will get an agreement–and, I believe, that the agreement will be signed by all U.N. member states which is historic," Ban said.

Achim Steiner, head of the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP), said on Sunday that the world is actually close to commiting to the minimum level of greenhouse gas reductions recommended by scientists for 2020. 

He released a report showing that the maximum emissions for that year should be 44 billion metric tons, if the world is to have a shot at keeping temperature changes to a rise of 2 degrees Celsius. 

Current reductions targets proposed by emerging and developing nations would result in 46 billion metric tons in 2020, according to the report. The gap of roughly 2 billion metric tons could be closed during Copenhagen negotiations, Steiner told reporters. 

"You could say that we are within a few gigatonnes of actually having a deal in Copenhagen in terms of the target for 44 gigatonnes by 2020," he said, as reported by Reuters.

India and China

India set a goal last week to cut its carbon intensity 20% to 25% by 2020 from 2005 levels. India was the last country to propose a plan for restricting greenhouse gases. 

Under the proposal, India’s emissions will still be allowed to grow, but the country will aim to reduce the amount of energy it uses to achieve the same amount of Gross Dometic Product. 

China made a similar proposal last month.

China also aims to produce one-third of its electricity from renewable resources by 2050, according to a new report in the China Daily. The paper cites a plan develooped by Han Wenke, director-general of the Energy Research Institute under top planning body, the National Development and Reform Commission.

Read additional Copenhagen coverage at the link below.

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