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Copenhagen pledges too weak

April 1, 2010

Originally published at

OSLO/LONDON – MORE than 110 countries have signed up to the Copenhagen Accord on fighting global warming, but the United Nations said on Wednesday their pledges for cutting greenhouse gas emissions were insufficient.

The first formal UN list of backers of the deal, compiled since the text was agreed at an acrimonious 194-nation summit in December, showed support from all top emitters led by China, the United States, the European Union, Russia, India and Japan. Backers also included small emitters from Albania to Zambia.

The accord, which falls short of a binding treaty sought by many nations, sets a goal of limiting global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times. But it leaves each nation to set its own targets for 2020.

Yvo de Boer, outgoing head of the UN Climate Change Secretariat which compiled the list, said pledges for cutting greenhouse gas emissions so far fell short of that goal. ‘It is clear that while the pledges on the table are an important step towards the objective of limiting growth of emissions, they will not in themselves suffice to limit warming to below 2 degrees Celsius,’ he said in a statement.

An April 9-11 UN meeting next week in Bonn, Germany is the first since Copenhagen and will try to pick up the pieces from a fractious summit in December often deadlocked on procedure. The overall aim of the talks is to agree a successor to the existing Kyoto Protocol after 2012 and Mr de Boer said the accord could help formal negotiations towards a successful outcome in Mexico, which will stage the next UN climate conference of the world’s environment ministers in Cancun in late 2010. A final deal may not be sealed until the following UN ministerial climate meeting at the end of 2011 in South Africa, he told reporters. One cause for delay is that US carbon capping legislation is stalled.

The accord had agreed to raise US$100 billion (S$140 billion) climate aid annually by 2020, and US$30 billion from 2010-2012 to help poor nations slow emissions growth and cope with impacts such as floods, droughts and rising sea levels. — REUTERS#

While 110/194 is quite a good number, we’ve yet to see any serious action or leadership in the fight towards climate action post COP15. But I guess we’ll see how the Bonn meetings go. Look out for more updates on that!


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