EU puts cards on table in Copenhagen run-up

The European Union has published its joint position on the international climate change negotiations set to take place in Copenhagen in December.

It says its members will be pressing for an ‘ambitious and comprehensive/ agreement that will prevent global warming from rising above 2°C – the ‘danger level’ accepted by most climate change models.

The bloc claims that the scientific consensus suggests this mean industrialised countries should cut their emissions by 25-40% by 2020, on a 1990 baseline, which would give developing countries room for more modest cuts of 15-30% during this period.

This is likely to remain a bone of contention, with many developing countries claiming they have a right to grow at a pace dictated by their economies, with the responsibility for cuts resting with the industrialised countries alone.

At this stage the EU says it will cut its emissions by 20% regardless of what comes out of Copenhagen, and will commit to 30% if other industrialised countries are prepared to do the same.

Current commitments on the table would see the industrialised states reach collective cuts of just 9-16.5% and the EU accepts it faces a ‘formidable political challenge’ in reaching an effective agreement.

The Europeans say the essential elements are:

  • Binding emission reductions by all industrialised countries based on comparable efforts;

  • Appropriate action by developing countries to limit emissions;

  • A framework for action on adaptation to climate change;

  • Action to reduce deforestation and forest degradation and promote sustainable forest management in tropical regions;

  • Updated accounting rules for emissions from land-use, land-use change and forestry;

  • An expanded international carbon market to generate financial support for developing countries and promote cost-effective emission cuts;

  • Provision of international public finance to developing countries to supplement financial flows from the carbon market and domestic investment;

  • A comprehensive package on technology cooperation and funding to accelerate development of a low-carbon global economy.

    Sam Bond

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