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Sunday, 28 February 2010

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After Copenhagen:

Major emitters set carbon goals

Fifty-five countries accounting for almost 80 per cent of world greenhouse gas emissions have pledged varying goals for fighting climate change under a deadline in the “Copenhagen Accord”, the United Nations said recently.

“This represents an important invigoration of the U.N. climate change talks,” Yvo de Boer, head of the UN Climate Change Secretariat, said of the national targets for curbs on emissions until 2020 submitted by January 31.

The countries, including top emitters led by China and the United States, mostly reiterated commitments unveiled before December’s U.N. summit in Denmark, which disappointed many by failing to agree to a tough, legally binding UN treaty.

De Boer said pledges covered 55 of 194 member nations and amounted to 78 per cent of emissions from energy use. The UN says the deadline is flexible and others can submit plans later.

“Greater ambition is required to meet the scale of the challenge,” he said. “But I see these pledges as clear signals of willingness to move negotiations towards a successful conclusion.”

Mexico will host the next annual UN meeting from November 29-December 10 as part of world’s efforts to avert more droughts, wildfires, floods, species extinctions and rising sea levels.

The Copenhagen Accord seeks to limit a rise in temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius, above pre-industrial levels and sets a goal of US dollars 100 billion a year in aid for developing nations from 2020 to help confront climate change.

Analysts say that the current targets will mean temperatures rise by more than 2 Celsius.

The 2020 goals include an European Union goal of a 20 per cent cut from 1990 levels, or 30 per cent if other nations step up actions. President Barack Obama plans a 17 per cent cut in US emissions from 2005 levels, or 4 per cent cut from 1990 levels.

China said it will “endeavour” to cut the amount of carbon produced per unit of economic output by 40 to 45 per cent by 2020 from 2005. The “carbon intensity” goal would let emissions keep rising, but more slowly than economic growth.

-Reuters

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