Emerging economies also emerging leaders in climate

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Influential emerging economies are also emerging with the leading plans to cut carbon emissions causing climate change, according to a WWF study issued Tuesday.

Issued as country delegates head to the UN climate conference at Cancun, Mexico, Emerging Economies – How the developing world is starting a new era of climate change leadership examines emissions trends and climate action plans for five of the world's largest developing economies - Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa.

It finds that overall these key emerging economies are acting with greater determination, ambition and energy than several countries in the developed world. But emerging economies could also do more to stave off the worst potential impacts of climate change and the report outlines for each country what the next moves could be.

"The race to grow clean technology markets and embrace a low-carbon future is well underway in some of the world's largest emerging economies," said Gordon Shepherd, leader of WWF's Global Climate Initiative.

"These countries now have the opportunity to build on their strong initiatives domestically to show international leadership under the UN climate process.

"Brazil, South Africa, China, India and Mexico are strongly placed at Cancun to push for action on innovative sources of public financing and a legally binding climate agreement under the UNFCCC" said Shepherd.

The WWF analysis shows that all five economies have reasonably strong renewable energy standards and emissions reduction plans, laying the basis for further action that will be needed in the future.

Mexico is integrating its climate change mitigation and adaptation plans and has committed to reduce emissions by 50% by 2050 compared to 2000 levels.

China is changing its energy mix and has committed to offering at least 15% of all energy from renewable sources by 2020, while emerging as the world's largest manufacturer of renewable energy products in 2009. . This is all part of securing the 20% reduction in energy intensity by 2010 compared to 2005 levels that China pledged last year at the Copenhagen UN climate summit.

Meanwhile, South Africa is pursuing a consistent economy-wide approach to low carbon development planning, working towards achieving around 34% reduction by 2020 especially commendable given its very high dependence on coal.

Brazil has reduced deforestation by 56% since 2004 and has set a 2017 target for further reductions to 70% below the average rate between 1995 and 2006.

India is making progress on solar and wind energy development under its national action plan on climate change and may exceed its target of adding 10% renewable energy power by 2012.

"These countries should push forward to achieve all they have committed to nationally and by these actions encourage and help move those who are still lagging behind in the renewable energy race," said Shepherd.

The report also demonstrates that collective action is essential from all emitting countries in order to address the threats from historic, current and future green house gas emissions.

"Given the competing challenges of reducing poverty levels and investing in development, it is encouraging that these emerging economies have committed to reversing the rising trend in emissions and are pursuing low-carbon development pathways."

"We believe these actions should increased cooperation between progressive developed countries such as the EU and emerging economies that could give the UN climate negotiations a new dynamic," said Shepherd.

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