Environmental News and Data Services (ENDS)

Rich nations take step towards post-Kyoto deal


Industrialised countries agreed they will need to significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 in order to limit global temperature rises at a five-day UN meeting on climate change that ended in Vienna on Friday.


The meeting was intended to set the stage for the major UN climate conference in Bali in December (EED 27/08/07) where governments should agree an agenda for negotiating a successor treaty to the Kyoto protocol (EED 06/08/07).


Delegates discussed future emission reduction potentials and targets for industrialised countries as well as implementation of the protocol's parent convention on climate change (UNFCCC).


After long discussion, they backed UN intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) findings that rich nations' emissions will have to fall by 25-40 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020 to avoid dangerous climate change. Global emissions will have to peak in the next 10 to 15 years, and must be more than halved by 2050 compared with 2000.


The meeting results were welcomed by UNFCCC chief Yvo de Boer, who said it was 'a first step that has laid the groundwork for the Bali conference'. 'It shows that parties [to the Kyoto protocol] have the necessary level of ambition to move this work forward', he said.


Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea and Switzerland were accused by green group WWF of 'hindering' negotiations. Canada and Japan objected to the IPCC's lowest stabilisation scenario of 450 ppm (EED 04/05/07). They also opposed a requirement to submit indicative 2020 national emission targets by June 2008, arguing this was premature.


Meanwhile Australian prime minister John Howard called on Monday for a consensus on a post-Kyoto climate framework ahead of a meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) this week.


Mr Howard warned that attempts to agree binding targets would simply delay a deal. 'We need a new flexible framework that includes a long term global goal and encourages a wide range of natural actions by all with ongoing review', he said.


Last week German chancellor Angela Merkel suggested a compromise climate deal that would allow developing countries to increase their emissions per capita while industrialised countries cut theirs. They would start making reductions once both groups reach the same levels, news agency Reuters reported.


So far the world's five major emerging economies including China and India have not been prepared to take on greenhouse gas emission reduction goals (EED 11/06/07).


On 24 September the UN will hold a high-level ministerial meeting on climate. An international conference on the same issue will be held in the US a few days later (EED 06/08/07).


Courtesy of ENDS Europe Daily

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