Deeper emission cuts urged at Lima

By He Shan in Lima, Peru
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, December 5, 2014
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More than 190 nations are meeting at the 12-day United Nations Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru, where negotiators are pushing for firmer actions to keep global warming within 2 degrees Celsius of pre-industrial times by the end of this century.

To increase its chances of reversing the trend in global warming before the planet hits the 2 degrees Celsius mark, the world needs to cut emissions by 40 to 70 percent by 2050 and to near-zero by 2100, according to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the group of least-developed nations said that rich countries should do "substantially more" to slash emissions and provide capital to poor countries trying to curb greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change.

“Headway in mobilizing funding has been slow," Oxfam stated in its latest report.

The actions would require the world to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Large-scale deployment of new technologies is badly needed to make the transition happen quickly enough to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

“The current emission-cutting efforts may not be enough to meet the net zero emissions target, so pledges will have to be stepped up in coming years,” said Xu Huaqing, an expert at the National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation, a climate change think tank based in Beijing.

The Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change have been ordered to submit a 2025 "intended nationally determined contribution" target no later than the first quarter of 2015.

Ahead of the climate change conference in Lima, China, the United States and the EU all submitted new targets for lower fossil fuel use, injecting positive momentum into negotiations at the Lima conference, which is expected to pin down the elements of a new deal that will be sealed at the next conference in Paris.

On Wednesday, Germany joined the group of countries that have approved a new plan to cut CO2 emissions to meet climate change targets. A few countries, including India, Russia, Japan and Australia, haven't announced new limits.

Xie Zhenhua, deputy-chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, said China is confident that it will meet its goals of reaching peak CO2 emissions by 2030 and increase the share of non-fossil fuels to around 20 percent of the country's total energy use.

Xie said that those new targets will be assessed on the basis of whether those actions are enough to keep global warming within 2 degrees Celsius of pre-industrial times.

According to the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC, climate change will inflict “severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts” on people and the natural world unless carbon emissions are cut sharply and rapidly.

The assessment finds that the impact of a warming atmosphere and warming oceans has led to diminishing snow and ice, rising sea levels and a concentration of carbon dioxide that has reached a level unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years.

The report has also confirmed the relationship between human influence and climate change.

“All we need is the will to change,” said R. K. Pachauri, Chair of the IPCC.

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