TWN Info Service
on Climate Change (Feb10/09)
emission cuts pledges under Copenhagen Accord
Geneva, 8 Feb (Meena Raman) -- Thirty-nine developed countries, referred to as Annex 1 Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), have submitted their national pledges for emissions reductions (in percentage by 2020 from a base year of 1990 or 2005), and have expressed their association with the Copenhagen Accord.
The Accord is a three-page
document arising from a small meeting of 29 political leaders at
A deadline of 31 January was given in the Accord for Annex I parties to submit mid-term emission reduction pledges which would fill in the Accord's Appendix I. The UNFCCC Secretariat invited all member countries to indicate if they would "associate" with the Accord and also to submit information on mitigation goals.
Only three of the 39
In addition, most of the pledges are conditional on there being comparable efforts by other developed countries as well as on developing countries making efforts such as by "contributing adequately" or that "major developing economies substantially restrain their emissions".
The Annex I countries that so far submitted their national pledges under the Accord are the European Union and its 27 member states, Australia, Canada, Croatia, Japan, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Norway, the Russian Federation, the United States, Belarus and Liechtenstein.
These submissions were made to the UNFCCC Secretariat following an invitation by the Executive Secretary, Yvo de Boer to all member states requesting them to notify the Secretariat if they chose to associate with the Accord, giving a deadline of 31 January. He later explained to the media that this was a "soft deadline."
The Canadian government
had previously proposed a target of 20% reduction by 2020 from the 2006
According to analysis done by the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) during the Barcelona climate talks in November 2009, Canada's previously announced target of 20% reductions from the 2006 level was equivalent to a reduction of 3% relative to 1990 levels without taking into account changes in land-use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) (which can lead to emissions generation or reduction).
However, with the new submission by Canada, a paper issued last week by the World Resources Institute (WRI) suggests that from its Accord submission, Canada's emissions target will be 3% above the 1990 level and if LULUCF is included, it will be 19% above (not below) the 1990 level.
The pledges by
In a footnote in its
letter of 28 January, the
The US listing of the targets is also conditional viz. "... on the assumption that other Annex 1 Parties as well as the more advanced non-Annex 1 Parties have by January 31, associated with the Accord and submitted mitigation actions for compilation".
According to the WRI
The rest of the developed countries made the same pledges as they did last year and almost all the pledges were conditional on there being comparable efforts by other developed countries as well as developing countries "contributing adequately" or that "major developing economies substantially restrain their emissions".
Based on the AOSIS
analysis, this target would mean that based on 1990 levels,
The EU position has not changed post-Copenhagen. In its submission, the EU maintained that it will reduce its emissions by 20% compared to 1990 levels. It also said that "as part of a global and comprehensive agreement for the period beyond 2012, the EU reiterates its conditional offer to move to a 30% reduction by 2020 compared to 1990 levels, provided that other developed countries commit themselves to comparable emission reductions and that developing countries contribute adequately according to their responsibilities and respective capabilities."
Japan has pledged to reduce its emissions by 25% compared to 1990 levels, "which is premised on the establishment of a fair and effective international framework in which all major economies participate and on agreement by those economies on ambitious targets."
"This means that the global agreement sets the world on a pathway to limit temperature rise to not more than 2 degrees Celsius; developed countries make comparable efforts to those of New Zealand; advanced and major emitting developing countries take action fully commensurate with their respective capabilities; there is an effective set of rules for land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF); and there is full recourse to a broad and efficient international carbon market."
The WRI paper warns that the pledges made will "certainly fall very short of goals to reduce concentrations below that level (450 ppm)."
The 450 ppm concentration level is usually associated with a global temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius. The need for the temperature rise to stay below 2 degrees is also recognised by the Accord. Thus, the pledges made by the developed countries do not even meet the Accord's own standard.
(The SUNS will provide further details of the WRI paper in its next issue). +