Global goal to reduce ghg’s met by mixed reactions

A global aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 to 40% below 1990 levels by 2020 has been reached by a host of industrial nations at a UN summit in Vienna.

Other reports about the global approach to reducing emissions said that there were significant disagreements about a unified goal, resulting in an agreement to make the target a “non-binding starting point for future discussion.”

“There is a consensus that the response needs to be global, with the involvement of all countries and that it needs to give equal importance to adaptation and mitigation,” Yvo de Boer, the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said at the conference.

“Countries have been able to reassess the big picture of what is needed by identifying the key building blocks for an effective response to climate change.”

Nearly 1,000 representatives from over 150 governments, business and industry, environmental organisations, media and research institutions attended the “Vienna Climate Change Talks 2007.”

Despite falling short on an actual agreement at the conference – because of objections from countries including Canada and Japan – the 25-40% figure was resolved as a “guide” for cuts in ghg emissions by industrial nations in coming years and is a “first step that has laid the groundwork for the Bali Conference,” Mr. de Boer noted.

The Bali summit, scheduled for this December in Bali, Indonesia, will address environmental issues including the global carbon market and financing responses to climate change for the period after the expiry of the Kyoto Protocol – the current global framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions – in 2012.

At the end of 2006, over 160 countries were covered by the Kyoto Protocol.

The United States – the world’s second largest emitter of greenhouse gases – did not sign the Kyoto agreement and has now called for a separate conference on climate change later this month to be attended by delegates from the world’s ‘major economies.’

Dana Gornitzki

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