The United States has urged a tough 2020 target for rich nations
to axe greenhouse gas emissions to be dropped from a draft text at
climate change talks in Bali, delegates said yesterday.
The December 3-14 meeting is seeking to launch two years of
talks on a new pact to slow global warming but is split about
whether to include guidelines such as a cut in emissions by rich
nations of 25-40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.
"The numbers are still in the text. There has been a lot of
pressure to take them out," one delegate with intimate knowledge of
the draft negotiations said. He corrected an earlier statement that
the numbers had been removed.
Other delegates also said the draft, put together by delegates
from Indonesia, Australia and South Africa, still included the
numbers despite pressure to take them out by countries including
the United States, Canada and Japan.
Washington said goals for 2020 should be negotiated over the
next two years rather than fixed in advance as part of a fight
against rising temperatures that could bring more floods, droughts,
melt Himalayan glaciers and raise sea levels.
"It's prejudging what the outcome should be," chief US
negotiator Harlan Watson said of 2020 targets. "We don't want to
start out with numbers."
Watson said that the 25-40 percent range was based on "many
uncertainties" and on a small number of studies examined by the
UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
"This is unacceptable," Hans Verolme of the WWF environmental
group said of efforts to cut out goals. "It's trying to slash out
the science," he said.
The Bali talks are trying to agree the principles for a
successor to the UN's Kyoto Protocol, which binds 36 industrial
nations to cut emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels, by five
percent below 1990 by 2008-12.
"Our opinion about Kyoto has not changed," Watson said.
President George W. Bush opposes Kyoto, saying it would damage the
US economy and wrongly excludes 2008-12 goals for developing
nations, such as China, India and Brazil.
(China Daily/Agencies December 11, 2007)