Danish Climate Change Treaty Draft Urges 50% Emissions Cut by 2050

By | November 30, 2009

The world should cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2050 from 1990 levels with the bulk of the reduction coming from rich countries, according to a draft proposal by Denmark, host of Dec 7-18 U.N. climate talks.

The draft, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, said rich countries should account for 80 percent of the global emission cuts by 2050. The draft, which could become the basis of a political agreement at the end of the climate talks in Copenhagen, suggested the world adopt 2020 as the year when global emissions will peak. It did not specify any mid-term emission target for developed countries, a key demand from poorer nations.

The draft also suggested efforts be made to keep the rise in global average temperatures to within two degrees Celsius.”Parties should work together constructively to strengthen the world’s ability to combat climate change,” the draft says.

The U.N. talks have run out of time to settle a legally binding deal after arguments between rich and poor nations about who should cut emissions, by how much and who should pay. But hopes are growing that a substantive political pact can be agreed at the December meeting instead.

Developing countries led by China and India are also expected to table a text that they would like to be turned into the basis for negotiations.

Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen says he wants a 5-8 page “politically binding” agreement, with annexes outlining each country’s obligations such as cuts in emissions by 2020 by developed nations. He also wants also a deadline in 2010 by when the deal has to be translated into a legal treaty text.

The Danish proposals are unlikely to go down well with developing countries, which are seeking tens of billions of dollars of aid annually to help them fight climate change.

Developed countries such as Britain and France have put an offer of a $10-billion-a-year Copenhagen Launch Fund on the table, but while developing countries welcomed what they called “interim financing”, they said much more, perhaps up to $300 billion, might be needed to make a global climate deal work.

Under current U.N. climate agreements, poorer nations are not obliged to meet binding emissions cuts but many of them such as China and India are offering to deviate from “business as usual” provided they are given cash and technology from rich countries.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, 37 industrialized nations, except the United States, are supposed to meet binding emissions goals between 2008-12. The Copenhagen talks are meant to lay out the way forward for a broader pact from 2013.

Developing nations are excluded. They say richer countries are historically responsible for most of the greenhouse gas pollution emitted since the start of the Industrial Revolution. As a result they contend that rich states should commit to tough mid-term and long-term emissions reduction targets and help poorer nations adapt to the impacts of climate change, such as rising seas, and to fund the shift to greener economic growth.

The United States never ratified Kyoto, saying the pact unfairly excluded big developing nations such as China and India from emissions caps.

“The Danish proposal speaks of 80 percent cut by the developed world. What about the other 20 percent? Who will do that?” a top negotiator from a developing economy told Reuters.

“This is a backdoor attempt to dissolve the (U.N.) principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.”

(Editing by David Fogarty)

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.