8 february 2010

New UN emissions pledges still stack up to 3.5°C

New Scientist, February 8. 2010, Magazine issue 2746.

THE Copenhagen climate dance continues.This week, 55 nations representing 78 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions from energy use, submitted pledges to the UN to cut emissions by 2020.

The commitments were made to meet a deadline set at the climate talks held in Copenhagen in December. But they mostly reiterate national pledges made before the summit, and are steeped in conditions. The US, for instance, reaffirmed its commitment to cut emissions to 17 per cent below 2005 levels, contingent on legislation being passed at home. China repeated that it would "endeavour to lower its carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 40 to 45 per cent" between 2005 and 2020.

"The vast majority of nations has failed to seize this opportunity to make their pledges more ambitious," says Niklas Höhne, a policy analyst at Ecofys in Cologne, Germany. "Our analysis suggests that the world is still on track for a 3.5 °C rise."



UNFCCC receives list of government climate pledges

(Bonn, 01 February 2010) – Following the conclusion of the climate change talks in Copenhagen, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has received submissions of national pledges to cut and limit greenhouse gases by 2020 from 55 countries. These countries together account for 78 per cent of global emissions from energy use.

“This represents an important invigoration of the UN climate change talks under the two tracks of Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol,” said Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC.

“The commitment to confront climate change at the highest level is beyond doubt. These pledges have been formally communicated to the UNFCCC. Greater ambition is required to meet the scale of the challenge. But I see these pledges as clear signals of willingness to move negotiations towards a successful conclusion,” he said.
Industrialised countries listed their mid-term targets to cut emissions:

Developing countries communicated information on their nationally appropriate mitigation actions:
The next round of formal negotiations is scheduled to be in Bonn, Germany, at the end of May 2010. Several countries have indicated their wish to see a quick return to the negotiations with more meetings than the scheduled sessions. “We are seeking further guidance from governments,” de Boer added.

The secretariat will continue to maintain and update the lists on its website.

About the UNFCCC

With 194 Parties, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol has been ratified by 190 of the UNFCCC Parties. Under the Protocol, 37 States, consisting of highly industrialized countries and countries undergoing the process of transition to a market economy, have legally binding emission limitation and reduction commitments. The ultimate objective of both treaties is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.
UNFCCC media office:

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