Commission drafts position for Copenhagen talks

Developed countries should commit to slashing emissions by 30% by 2020 compared to 1990 levels and developing countries must limit theirs by at least 15%, European Union chiefs have said.

The targets are part of the European Commission’s proposals for the measures that should be adopted as the successor to the Kyoto Protocol at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen in December.

The commission’s Communication also called for the creation of a carbon market covering all the countries that are part of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) by 2015 to help limit global warming to less than two degrees Celsius.

It also recommended international financial support to reduce emissions, sources of funding based on the polluter pays principle, and diverting some funds raised by the EU Emission Trading System to support developing countries.

“The European Economic Recovery Plan and similar measures being taken around the world to address the economic crisis are a chance to advance the low-carbon investment needed and stimulate growth, innovation and job creation at the same time,” Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said.

“However, further financing solutions will be vital for getting agreement in Copenhagen.

“Today’s Communication makes a key contribution by putting forward a comprehensive set of proposals for scaling up finance and investment.”

Friends of the Earth Europe said the document was a starting point but lacked the necessary “cash and credibility”. It said EU countries should cut emissions by 40% compared to 1990 levels by 2020.

Climate campaigner Esther Bollendorff said: “Europe continues to fail to live up to its historical obligations for causing climate change and jeopardises the chances of a satisfactory solution to the climate crisis.”

Their comments were echoed by WWF. Kim Carstensen, leader of WWF’s New Global Deal on Climate initiative, said: “Europe needs to stop anticipating what the rest of the world might do and concentrate on what Europe should do if it wants to reclaim the reputation of leading in the fight against climate change.”

The European Council is expected to give its formal response to the document in March.

More information on the Commission’s proposals can be found here.

Kate Martin

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