1.1. Climate pledges ‘not enough for deal’, says EU
30 November 2009, EurActiv
Pledges made so far by governments to cut greenhouse gases are not enough for an effective pact to fight climate change, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso said on Sunday (29 November).
Speaking to reporters in Nanjing, eastern China, just over a week before the start of UN climate talks in Copenhagen on 7 December, Barroso said that taken as a whole, the proposed curbs were encouraging.
However, he said they fell short of the minimum scientists believed was needed to avoid future temperature rises of two degrees Celsius or more above the pre-industrial average, which could lead to dangerous climate disruptions.
"If you sum up all the commitments made so far, according to our estimates, we are not yet where we should be if we want Copenhagen to succeed," said Barroso, who will attend a European Union-China summit in Nanjing on Monday.
"Everyone has a good reason not to do more, and it’s legitimate, but at the end if we just concentrate on the reasons not to do more, we’ll not achieve the necessary result."
Barroso’s calls were echoed by Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, who said on Monday that countries were not being ambitious enough in their proposals to reduce carbon emissions.
"The global efforts put on the table for mitigation are not enough […] More needs to be done," Reinfeldt, whose government holds the rotating presidency of the 27-member European Union, told reporters during a regular EU-China summit days before crucial climate change talks in Copenhagen.
Reinfeldt also said the two sides had agreed to fight protectionism and keep their markets open. 50% target?
The European Union has pressed for countries to agree on ways of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 50% of recent global levels by 2050, a goal that scientists have said is likely to avoid temperature rises of 2C or more.
In July, the Group of Eight leading industrial countries failed to get the biggest developing countries plus China and India to sign up to the goal of halving world greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
"I believe it should be possible and we are working for it, for the 50% by 2050," said Barroso. "Certainly, we would like to see that result, but it’s too soon to say if the different partners are ready."
The world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter, China, said on Thursday it would try to slow its growing greenhouse gas emissions by aiming to cut the amount of carbon dioxide emitted to generate each unit of economic output by between 40 and 45% by 2020 compared with 2005 levels (EurActiv 26/11/09).
The United States has promised to cut 2005 emissions by 17% by 2020. EU leaders agreed in December 2008 to cut emissions by 20% below 1990 levels by 2020 and by 30% if other developed countries followed suit.
"What I can tell you is that I certainly ask the Chinese and all our partners for the outer limits of their positions," said Barroso.
Barroso urged all parties in Copenhagen to aim for an "ambitious, operational" accord to fight global warming.
1.2. Barroso II brings nine women on board
25 November 2009, EurActiv
With Denmark appointing Climate and Energy Minister Connie Hedegaard as the country’s next commissioner and the Dutch government confirming outgoing Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes for another five-year term, the number of women in the next EU executive increases to nine, matching the number of the outgoing college.
European Commission President José Manuel Barroso seems to have convinced enough EU leaders to raise the number of women in his new college.
After Greece had nominated Maria Damanaki, a socialist-affiliated member of the Hellenic Parliament, on Friday (20 November), Denmark nominated its energy and climate minister to be the country’s next commissioner yesteday (24 November).
The Netherlands, the last country to put forward a name for the EU Commission, also confirmed yesterday it was appointing outgoing competition commissioner, Neelie Kroes, who is likely to get another economic portfolio.
Barroso had reportedly voiced his desire to see Hedegaard in the post, but Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Ramussen had beenn hesitant to name her – not least because he would have preferred someone from his own Liberal Party to get the job rather than his conservative climate minister.
Hedegaard, who became climate and energy minister in 2004, has played a central role in the run-up to the UN climate conference in Copenhagen on 7-18 December.
She finds herself the front-runner to become the Union’s next environment commissioner, unless Barroso decides to split the portfolio and create a new climate post, as is currently rumoured in Brussels (EurActiv 23/11/2009).
Up to now, the Commission has had portfolios for environment and energy, but not a specific post for climate affairs. "I have explicitly expressed to him [Barroso] that I expect Connie Hedegaard to become the new climate commissioner," Rasmussen said on Danish TV, according to Reuters.
"It is of course his decision," Rasmussen said. "He puts together his Commission, but he has confirmed to me that Connie Hedegaard will get a portfolio that matches her experience and qualifications."
Damanaki, a chemical engineer by training, is a member of the Greek parliament’s committee on culture, science and education. She is a former president of the Synaspismos party on the radical left and is now a member of the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), which won national elections last month (EurActiv 05/10/09).
As for Commissioner Kroes, she is held in high regard in Brussels for her work as competition commissioner in the outgoing Commission. She would like to continue in that capacity, reports said.
With nine women in the new college, EU leaders seem to have listened to President Barroso. In a letter to EU head of state and government, Barroso emphasised the importance of gender balance in his new college of commissioners. "To allow me to propose a properly balanced team […] I urge you to see gender balance as a common goal and a shared responsibility," he said last month, calling on the leaders to "pay particular attention to the presence of women in the college as our discussions continue towards conclusion" (EurActiv 22/10/09).
Although the current Commission is the best ever in terms of gender balance (17 men and nine women), some countries have never nominated a female commissioner. Since the first Hallstein Commission in 1958, a total of 142 individuals have taken up positions as European commissioners, but just 19 of these (13%) were women.
The other women in Barroso’s new Commission are Swedish Cecilia Malmström, Luxembourg Vivianne Reding, Bulgaria Roumiana Jeleva, Cypriot Androulla Vassiliou, Irish Máire Geoghegan-Quinn and Catherine Ashton, the new high reprentative and Commission vice-president.
Greenpeace reaction to EU environment Council
23 November 2009, EurActiv
European environment ministers met today in Brussels to put the final touches to the EU position going into the Copenhagen climate summit in December. Greenpeace welcomes the statement by the EU Presidency noting that the “EU is moving closer to 30% emission reductions.” However, Greenpeace urges the EU to lead by example and to align its emission reduction target with climate science as soon as possible.
“Millions of people, climate scientists and all developing countries around the world are calling for at least 40% emission reductions in Copenhagen. Copenhagen must set ambitious targets to tackle the escalating climate crisis. Nothing less will do,” said Joris den Blanken, Greenpeace EU climate policy director.
EU governments have so far committed to a unilateral 20% emission reduction target by 2020 and a 30% target under a new climate agreement.
“The world is a very different place from when the EU first proposed its climate targets. With a myriad of loopholes and reductions stemming from the economic slowdown, a 20% cut has become nothing more than business as usual,” said den Blanken.
While the EU has been reluctant to move, rich countries such as Japan and Norway have made commitments for deep emission cuts. Developing countries such as China, Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa have also announced ambitious climate action. Greenpeace urges the EU to upgrade its emission reduction target to at least 40% by 2020 compared to 1990 levels, with 30% achieved domestically.
1.3. Unchecked Climate change will put world at ‘tipping point’, WWF and Allianz report says
23 November 2009, WWF
The world’s diverse regions and ecosystems are close to reaching temperature thresholds – or “tipping points” – that can unleash devastating environmental, social and economic changes, according to a new report by WWF and Allianz.
Often global warming is seen as a process similar to a steady flow of water in our bathrooms and kitchens, where temperature goes up gradually, controlled by a turn of the tap.
But the report ‘Major Tipping Points in the Earth’s Climate System and Consequences for the Insurance Sector’ documents that changes related to global warming are likely to be much more abrupt and unpredictable – and they could create huge social and environmental problems and cost the world hundreds of billions of dollars.
Without immediate climate action, sea level rise on the East Coast of the USA, the shift to an arid climate in California, disturbances of the Indian Summer Monsoon in India and Nepal or the dieback of the Amazon rainforest due to increasing drought, are likely to affect hundreds millions of people and cost hundreds of billions of dollars.
The study explores impacts of these “tipping points,” including their economic consequences and implications for the insurance sector. It also shows how close the world is to reaching “tipping points” in many regions of the world, or how close we are to tipping the scales toward disaster.
“If we don’t take immediate action against climate change, we are in grave danger of disruptive and devastating changes,” said Kim Carstensen, the Head of WWF Global Climate Initiative. “Reaching a tipping point means losing something forever. This must be a strong argument for world leaders to agree a strong and binding climate deal in Copenhagen in December.
According to the report, carried out by the Tyndall Centre, the impacts of passing “Tipping Points” on the livelihood of people and economic assets have been underestimated so far. The report focuses on regions and phenomena where such events might be expected to cause significant impacts within the first half of the century.
“As an insurer and investor, we must prepare our clients for these scenarios as long as we still have leeway for action,” says Clemens von Weichs, CEO of Allianz Reinsurance. “Setting premiums risk-appropriately and sustainably is of vital interest to everyone involved, because this is the only way to ensure that coverage solutions will continue to exist.”
Allianz intends to address climate change by entering into dialogue with its clients at an early date. This will allow it to point out countermeasures in a timely way, and work together to develop specific coverage concepts, whether for existing assets or for future climate-compatible projects like alternative energy and water supply concepts, dyke construction, or protection against failed harvests.
Global temperatures have already risen by at least 0.7 degrees Celsius. Global warming above 2-3 degrees in the second half of the century is likely unless strong extremely radical and determined efforts towards deep cuts in emissions are put in place before 2015.
The melting of the Greenland (GIS) and the West Antarctic Ice Shield (WAIS) could lead to a Tipping Point scenario, possibly a sea level rise of up to 0.5 meters by 2050. This is estimated to increase the value of assets at threat in all 136 global port mega-cities by around 25.000 billion USD.
On the North-eastern coast of the USA and due to a localized anomaly, the sea level could rise up to 0.65 meters, increasing the asset exposure from 1.350 to about 7.400 billion USD
The South Western Part of the USA, namely California, is likely to be affected by droughts and levels of aridity similar to the Dust Bowl in the 1930s. The annual damages caused by wildfires could be tenfold compared to today’s costs and could reach up to 2.5 billion USD per year by 2050 increasing to up to 14 billion by 2085.
70 percent of working population may be put at risk by droughts in India. The future costs of droughts are expected to rise to approx. 40 billion USD per decade until the middle of the century.
In a tipping point scenario, dieback of the Amazon Rainforest could reach 70% by the end of the century as a consequence of a significant increase in the frequency of droughts in the Amazon basin. The impacts include loss of biodiversity and massive carbon release. Costs could reach up to 9.000 billion USD for a surface of around 4 million square kilometers.
“The Tipping Points report shows how quickly we are approaching dangerous and irreversible levels of global warming,” Carstensen said. “Economic consequences of passing the climate tipping points are absolutely overwhelming.”
“There is still a chance to avoid the worst and this report shows how urgent it is to act immediately. A strong climate agreement in Copenhagen in December is the best, if not the only chance to prevent the worst impacts of devastating climate change.”
Today’s insurance industry has learned lessons from its experiences after major losses caused by hurricanes like Andrew (1992), Ivan (2004) and Katrina (2005). Better models will help people understand the frequency and strength of natural disasters. “But good models will not be enough to protect the climate,” explains Michael Bruch, of Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty, the Allianz Group’s industrial insurer. “The human component is playing an ever-increasing role in reducing the risk from natural disasters, in terms of both risk management and combating the human causes of climate change.”
1.4. 10 little things the world needs to agree on
November 2009, WWF
The Copenhagen Climate conference is just around the corner and we are working on clear goals for the negotiations, a “simple” menu of what the world needs to agree on.
There are the 10 little points which will help us face climate change and start the basis of a new, cleaner economy:
1. Governments need to create a legally binding framework with an amended Kyoto Protocol and a new Copenhagen Protocol, which secures the survival of countries, cultures and ecosystems and clears the way to the low carbon economy.
2. Global emissions peak before 2017 keeping overall warming well below the 2°C danger threshold, going down to below 1.5°C as soon as possible.
3. Industrialized countries commit to reduce their emissions by 40% by 2020, compared to 1990 levels.
4. Developing countries agree to undertake significant action making emissions at least 30% lower than Business-As-Usual by 2020.
5. Emissions from forest destruction are reduced by three quarters (75%) by 2020, taking into account indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ rights.
6. A framework for immediate adaptation action is set in place, especially for vulnerable countries and ecosystems, including the provision of insurance and compensation.
7. Public finance of at least US$160 billion per year is provided to developing countries for adaptation and mitigation through innovative sources of finance.
8. Mechanisms are set up to strengthen technology cooperation on research, development and dissemination of low-carbon and climate-resilient technologies.
9. A new institutional set-up under the UNFCCC allows for coordination, implementation and funding allocation, in a transparent and democratic way, and incentivizes compliance.
10. Parties agree transparent and comparable standards for carbon markets, forests and land use, mitigation efforts and inventories, and ways to limit international aviation and shipping emissions.
All points were presented by WWF in the last UN Climate conference, in Barcelona.
2.1. EU, China to ink clean coal deal at summit
26 November 2009, EurActiv
Leaders from China and Europe will sign a new Science and Technology Agreement at next week’s summit in Nanjing, where progress is also likely on a major near-zero emissions coal project.
With EU-China relations back on track after a frosty period in 2008, the two sides are expected to press ahead with developing closer bilateral relations on Monday (30 November). The global financial crisis and climate change are also high on the agenda.
There has been considerable progress in behind-the-scenes negotiations on a new Partnership and Cooperation (PAC) agreement between the EU and China, and a further push will be made in Nanjing with a view to signing off on a final document next year, officials said.
The current agreement dates back to 1985 and is considered by both sides to be out of date. It could set the tone for closer ties on a range of trade, scientific and environmental areas.
Despite broadly positive noises coming from Brussels and Beijing, a number of issues still divide the two, including the arms embargo, the granting of market economy status to China, human rights issues, and green technology transfer.
Closer ties on technology
Whatever their differences on trade and Tibet, the renewal of the EU-China Science and Technology Agreement appears to be in the bag ahead of the summit, and there are also signs of a breakthrough on a stalled near-zero emissions coal project.
Leaders are expected to sign phases two and three of the initiative, with the ultimate aim of developing a pilot plant in China.
The plan is part of a joint effort to develop carbon capture and storage technology (CCS). €50 million has been made available by the EU for the construction and operation phase of the project, out of a total €60 million earmarked for cooperation with emerging economies on clean coal technologies and CCS.
Technology transfer has been a bone of contention between China and Europe, with the Asian giant seeking financial and technological support in addressing carbon emissions. The debate on easing intellectual property rights for essential green technologies has been hotting up ahead of the Copenhagen climate summit.
With Copenhagen in mind, diplomatic sources said Europe will push China for more specifics on emissions reduction targets. An internal debate has been underway in China for some months. The pace has been too slow for some observers, although there is a sense that if Beijing sets targets, they will be adhered to.
Ongoing tensions on trade issues
Protectionism and IPR remain key trade issues for European companies operating in China. Difficulties accessing public procurement contracts will also be raised in Nanjing.
The row over the ‘buy Chinese’ clause in Beijing’s massive fiscal stimulus package has somewhat abated, and China says goods from foreign-backed firms can still access the stimulus package. However, the EU still has concerns about conditions on the ground for foreign companies.
At the 11th EU-China summit in Prague (May 2009), it was agreed to establish an SME Centre in Beijing to help European businesses navigate the Chinese legal and business environment. A call for tender by the EU executive was cancelled last month but sources indicate the plan could be resurrected next year.
China will raise the issue of the EU granting it market economy status (MES), although no major breakthrough is anticipated. The EU insists granting MES is a technical matter but China believes Europe’s hesitation is politically motivated.
The green economy, preparation for the Doha round of world trade talks, IPR rules on green technologies and the state of the broader investment environment in China will also be on the table.
Chinese view arms embargo as ‘laughable’
The embargo on EU firms selling arms to China also remains a bone of contention, with Chinese officials questioning the "real purpose" of the sanctions.
The embargo was introduced in 1989 and is the cause of much anguish in China, more for the symbolism attached to it than any practical difficulty it presents.
China says it can easily source or produce arms technology outside Europe and has no interest in participating in an arms race. Nonetheless, Beijing perceives the embargo as implying that it is a pariah.
"We don’t want to spend too much on arms; we want to increase the quality of life of the Chinese people. We pursue a defence policy which is defensive," said China’s ambassador to the EU, Song Zhe.
Human rights pose perennial problems
Human rights are always on the agenda at EU-China meetings, although there is a sense that both sides tend to restate their well-worn positions without any major breakthroughs. The latest round of the EU-China Dialogue on Human Rights took place in Beijing last week (20 November), thus annexing these thorny issues from political and economic matters.
Ambassador Song said human rights and democracy can always be improved in China, just as there is room for improvement in every other country. He said 60 years ago, outsiders commented that China was ungovernable because it was so poor and disorganised. Now, the country is united and becoming more prosperous, he said.
On the controversy surrounding European attitudes to Tibet, China views the Dalai Lama as a politician leader rather than a religious leader. Song said China continues to oppose meetings between politicians and the Dalai Lama because it promotes the separatist movement in China.
This is a particularly sore point for China, which itself pursues a policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries. "We don’t make irresponsible remarks about others and don’t like others involving themselves in China’s affairs," said Song.
The same logic extends to China’s involvement in neighbouring countries such as Myanmar and North Korea, where Beijing prefers to use its influence in more subtle ways than those advocated in the West.
Chinese EU Ambassador Song Zhe said developing closer relations serves the interests of both parties as well as the wider international community. He acknowledged that there are difficulties on a number of issues but says there is no fundamental conflict between China and Europe. Song said all problems can be overcome "through mutual respect" between equal partners.
European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner will lead negotiations on the European side.
A planned trip by outgoing Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton has been cancelled in the wake of her appointment as European High Representative for Foreign Affairs. Ashton was in China in September on a trade mission.
2.2. Radiation leak investigated at Three Mile Island
23 November 2009, Reuters
Federal officials are investigating a radiation leak at Three Mile Island, scene of the worst U.S. nuclear power accident, but said on Sunday there was no threat to public health or safety.
Investigators were trying to determine the cause of radiological contamination inside the nuclear facility’s containment building on Saturday afternoon.
About 150 people were working in a TMI containment building when the contamination was detected and some were exposed to low levels of radiation, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman said.
"Based on the information that was provided to us by the company, the level of the dose they received was a small fraction of the NRC’s regulatory limit," spokeswoman Diane Screnci said in a telephone interview.
The NRC sent a radiation specialist and a regional manager to the site on Sunday to review the company’s assessment. "There was no impact on public health and safety," Screnci said.
Three Mile Island operator, Exelon, said no contamination was found outside the containment building.
One employee was found to have received 16 millirem of exposure and other workers were exposed to lower levels, Exelon said. The annual occupational dose limit for nuclear workers at Exelon nuclear plants is 2,000 millirem, the company said.
The containment building has been shut down since October 26 for refueling and maintenance, Exelon said in a statement.
The plant near the Pennsylvania state capital of Harrisburg created worldwide headlines in 1979 when one of its units partially melted down. The accident made Three Mile Island synonymous with the dangers of nuclear power and helped slow expansion of the U.S. nuclear industry.
Exelon the biggest nuclear power operator in the United States, did not own Three Mile Island at the time.
2.3. Bulgaria to boost energy efficiency, renewables
24 November 2009, EurActiv
Bulgaria plans to boost its power efficiency and support green energy to fight climate change and achieve European Union environment targets, Economy and Energy Minister Traicho Traikov said on Monday (23 November).
The centre-right government, which took office in July, was working to set up an energy bourse and make gas and electricity system operators independent to open the power market to newcomers and cut prices for energy consumers.
"To decrease the greenhouse gases, we need to consume less and cleaner energy," Economy and Energy Minister Traicho Traikov told an economic forum, presenting the key lines of Bulgaria’s energy strategy until 2020.
"The three steps – the transparent development of the electricity and gas networks, the [establishment] of an energy bourse and the separation of the operators can be carried out during our mandate," he told an economic forum.
The gas and the electricity operators are part of the state power holding BEH at present. Traikov said their separation, aimed at enforcing easier and cheaper access to power and gas networks for competitors, will be carried out before 2011.
The new strategy is expected to be completed and approved by the government by the end of the year or early next year.
Traikov said Bulgaria will rely on hefty European Union aid and bank loans to cut the energy intensity of gross domestic product in the Balkan country, which is two times higher than the EU’s average level at present.
The government plans to set up a board for technical infrastructure and prepare maps outlining the specific conditions for renewable energy such as wind, solar and biomass in each region, as well as the grid’s capability to add new generators.
Bulgaria relies on coal for over 40% of its electricity and nuclear energy accounts for 35%.
Its renewable energy comes mainly from hydro plants and makes just about 6% of its total energy consumption.
Out of over 11,200 installed power capacity Bulgaria has 330 megawatts of wind power generators and about three megawatts of solar installations.
To meet its target to provide 16% of its power mix from renewable sources by 2020, Sofia has to install 300 megawatts of hydro, wind, biomass and solar generators a year, analysts say.
3.1. EU waits for US to up carbon reduction target
24 November 2009, EurActiv
The US and China will have to put their cards on the table before the EU can increase its CO2 reduction target to 30%, Swedish Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren said yesterday (23 November), after EU environment ministers had met to clarify tactics for the UN climate conference in Copenhagen.
The EU is "coming closer" to raising its offer to 30%, Carlgren said. But he stressed that the agreement would cover only half of global emissions without similar commitments from the United States and China.
"An ambitious bid by the United States and also by China is absolutely crucial for an agreement in Copenhagen," the minister stated.
Carlgren emphasised that the EU’s strategy of using the 30% carrot to leverage more ambitious commitments from other parties had proven successful so far. He cited higher emission reduction targets from Russia, Japan and Norway, and greater efforts by South Korea, Indonesia and Brazil.
Speaking to EurActiv, Mark Kenber, policy director at the Climate Group, stressed that securing a deal in Copenhagen is now beyond EU diplomacy. "It is important to keep the pressure up, but I don’t think the EU can do much at this point," he said, insisting that the ball is in the US camp.
The United States will propose emission reduction targets before Copenhagen, according to a White House official, the BBC reported yesterday (23 November). The target is expected to be in line with figures contained in legislation before the Senate.
Last June, the House of Representatives passed a bill setting the goal of reducing overall US greenhouse gas emissions by 17% from 2005 levels by 2020, and 83% by mid-century. This amounts to roughly 3-4% below the 1990 level used by the EU.
A Senate version is aiming for a 20% cut by 2020.
Finalising EU’s negotiating mandate
The extraordinary meeting of environment ministers was called to put the finishing touches to the EU’s negotiating position for Copenhagen (EurActiv 20/11/09). The ministers confirmed the EU’s expectations for the Copenhagen conference, and decided that the mandate agreed by EU leaders last month is sufficient.
Although a fully-fledged and legally binding new climate treaty is not expected to be concluded until next year, the ministers agreed that Copenhagen would still need to provide a binding agreement. This should include economy-wide carbon reduction targets for industrialised countries and commitments to reduce emissions below business-as-usual scenarios from developing countries.
"We have also concluded that an agreement needs to contain a review mechanism so that it can be upgraded in line with new knowledge presented by science in order to manage the challenge of climate change," Carlgren said.
EU to push for immediate funding
Environment ministers stressed that developed countries must agree on a financing package in support of poor countries.
They agreed that an ambitious agreement in Copenhagen would have to include fast-track financing, delivered between 2010 and 2012, before a new legally binding treaty enters into force. This would pay for immediate action on adaptation and capacity-building in least-developed countries and fund immediate action on deforestation, Carlgren said.
"The EU will in any case deliver ambitious financial support in Copenhagen […], but we also urge other countries to do that as well," he stressed.
The environment ministers said that the EU would keep the door open to talk about putting a specific figure on the table at the EU summit on 10 December, in the midst of the Copenhagen negotiations.
"But whether it will happen or not will depend also on where other parties are," Carlgren said. He added that the EU was still looking to pressure other countries into an ambitious global level of short-term financing in the range of €5 to €7 billion annually.
Immediate action will be necessary in crucial areas like deforestation and setting up levies for bunker fuels to provide funding for adaptation, the environment ministers said.
UN urges EU to put figures on the table
Speaking to EU environmental ministers, UN climate chief Yvo de Boer stressed that the remaining sticking points can be overcome, but there needs to be more clarity on both emission reduction targets from developed countries and measures planned by developing nations to "significantly limit their emissions from a business as usual path".
"We need clear targets in Copenhagen, and not just a range of commitments," he noted, hinting at the fact that the EU has promised to boost its commitment from a 20 to 30% reduction if other industrialised countries, namely the US, follow suit.
"To restate the goal of minus 30% would be to show true leadership," De Boer underlined, saying that the EU needs to be clearer on the role played by the carbon market, but also on the role of land-use and forestry in calculating the European target.
The EU must also be clearer on the level of financing it is willing to provide both for helping developing countries to adapt to global warming and mitigate the effect of climate change.
"A Copenhagen deal will be stillborn if it does not include new additional and predictable finance," he said. Auctioning of emission rights is an effective way of mobilising finance, he said, but "significant public money is needed and the world is waiting for the EU to commit to concrete numbers".
Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said it would be more beneficial for the negotiations if the EU had already put the 30% target on the table.
"In my opinion, the pressure by example […] would be stronger if we put a 30% target," he said.
Dimas said the EU has an easier task in delivering higher reductions because it already has climate legislation in place, adding that the recession had brought 30% within reach.
According to WWF’s Jason Anderson , US President Barack Obama will not be able to come to Copenhagen with numbers unless he is given a clear mandate from the Senate. But it is important not to remain stuck in the idea of delivering a political agreement, as much has already been achieved by negotiators, he explained.
"We should avoid leaving the negotiated text so far in limbo," Anderson stressed.
3.2. Halve world carbon emissions by 2050: Danish text
30 November 2009, Reuters
The world should agree to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 from 1990 levels as part of a U.N. climate pact in Copenhagen in mid-December, according to a suggested text by hosts Denmark. The text, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, said rich countries should account for 80 percent of the global emission cuts by 2050. But it did not spell out shorter-term emission targets for rich countries, a key demand from poorer nations.
India , the world’s number four emitter, said it opposed the suggested text. Denmark, meanwhile, insisted it was merely consulting and had made no formal proposals for breaking deadlock between rich and poor nations at the December 7-18 meeting.
"If the Denmark draft is any indication then we are heading to a dead end," Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh told reporters in New Delhi.
China and India have opposed agreeing to a goal of halving world emissions unless rich nations, which have burned fossil fuels since the Industrial Revolution, take the lead by setting far tougher reductions by 2020.
"The Danish government has not put forward a proposal," Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen told reporters in Copenhagen.
Danish Climate Minister Connie Hedegaard, who will preside at Copenhagen, told Reuters earlier that consultations were "based on a variety of draft text proposals." She added that Denmark would not propose any formal compromises until the meeting.
The text seen by Reuters also suggests that the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels, should peak in 2020. Emissions have been rising fast in recent years but are set to dip by up to 3 percent in 2009 because of recession.
And it suggested efforts to keep the rise in global average temperatures to within 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times to avoid the worst of heatwaves, floods, species extinctions and rising sea levels.
The U.N. talks have run out of time to settle a legally binding deal after arguments between rich and poor nations about who should cut emissions, by how much and who should pay.
But hopes are growing that a substantive political pact can be agreed at the December meeting, including setting a 2010 deadline for tying up a legal text. U.S. President Barack Obama will attend on December 9 with most other leaders at the end.
In Beijing, Premier Wen Jiabao told the European Union that Beijing would deliver on a promise to slow the rise of its carbon dioxide output, the main greenhouse gas emitted by burning fossil fuels.
China plans to cut its "carbon intensity" — the carbon dioxide released in generating each yuan of output — by 40 to 45 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels. Such a goal would still allow a doubling of emissions, assuming projected economic growth rates, analysts say.
Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said in Beijing that the world was not ambitious enough in setting cuts. "More needs to be done," Reinfeldt said. Sweden holds the rotating presidency of the 27-member European Union.
Developing countries led by China and India are also expected to table a text in Copenhagen on Tuesday that they would like to be turned into the basis for negotiations. China, the United States, Russia and India are the top emitters.
Denmark ‘s Rasmussen has said he wants a 5-8 page "politically binding" agreement, with annexes outlining each country’s obligations.
Developed countries such as Britain and France have put an offer of a $10-billion-a-year Copenhagen Launch Fund on the table, but while developing countries welcomed what they called "interim financing," they said much more, perhaps up to $300 billion, might be needed to make a global climate deal work.
In Canberra, Australia’s key policy to fight global warming limped closer to defeat on Monday with parliament set to delay or reject the government’s carbon emissions trade scheme, raising the chances of an early election.
In Sydney, Tibet’s exiled Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama also urged governments to take climate change seriously. "In some cases in order to protect global issues, some sacrifice of national interest (is needed)," he said.
4.1. United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen – COP 15
The United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen (COP 15) will be a turning point in the fight to prevent climate disaster. The science demands it, the economics support it, future generations require it. In early December, negotiators, ministers and world leaders will assemble in the Danish capital to give the people of all nations a strong answer to this common, global threat of climate change.
More at: http://unfccc.int/2860.php
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