Disputed draft urges 50% emission cut

0 CommentsPrint E-mail China Daily via agencies, December 1, 2009
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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 one draft proposal by Denmark, host of UN climate talks next week.

But Denmark's Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said yesterday that his government had not put any proposal on the table, and Denmark's minister for the conference said "consultations are based on a variety of draft text proposals."

Rasmussen said that Denmark was consulting with all countries and a compromise proposal for an agreement would come only later. He said Denmark, as host of the conference, was working for a deal in line with a goal of limiting global warming to 2 C over pre-industrial times.

The draft that made headlines earlier in the day, 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 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 developing nations.

"Parties should work together constructively to strengthen the world's ability to combat climate change," the draft says.

UN 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 next week instead.

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

Rasmussen says he wants a five- to eight-page "politically binding" agreement, with annexes outlining each country's obligations such as cuts in emissions by 2020 by developed nations. He also wants a deadline in 2010 by when the deal has to be translated into a legal treaty text.

The reported but later disowned Danish proposals would be unlikely to go down well with developing countries, which are seeking tens of billions of dollars of aid annually to help them fight the effects of global warming.

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 perhaps up to $300 billion might be needed to make a global climate deal work.

Under current UN climate agreements, poorer nations are not obliged to meet binding emissions cuts.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, 37 industrialized nations excluding the non-signing US, 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 and say richer countries are historically responsible for most of the greenhouse gas pollution emitted since the start of the Industrial Revolution.

They say 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 and to fund the shift to greener economic growth.

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