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First official draft on climate deal

A key working group under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) came up with a six-page text Friday. The draft may form the core of a new global agreement to combat climate change beyond 2012, when the present framework, the Kyoto Protocol, expires. However, most figures in the text are shown in brackets – meaning that there is not yet agreement on these specifics. Most importantly, the draft states that emissions should be halved worldwide by 2050 compared to 1990 levels, but it also suggests 80 percent and 95 percent reductions by that year as possible alternative options.

The draft is produced by Michael Zammit Cutajar (second from right on photo above), Chair of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA).

Even the core goal of the deal is in brackets. Throughout 2009, a number of scientific and political conferences have called for global warming to be kept below two degrees Celsius. Still, the new draft mentions 1.5 degrees Celsius as a possible alternative goal.

Besides the ultimate target of cutting emissions by 50 percent (or 80 percent, or 95 percent respectively) by 2050, the paper also puts forth an interim target by 2020 to be set. For emissions generated by developed nations, a target of 75 percent in reductions (or more – ranging up to 95 percent) is suggested. As for developing countries, the text calls for “substantial deviations” from present growth rates in emissions.

Comments from climate groups vary: “There are many holes - the text displays diversions. Still it (the draft) clearly shows that it is possible to reach a deal. The holes need to be filled through political will and specific political commitments. We still do not know how much money will be paid and by whom,” Kim Carstensen, head of global conservation organisation WWF’s climate campaign, tells Danish daily Berlingske.

More critical is Erwin Jackson of the Australian Climate Institute: “It would be a huge backwards step if this is adopted. There is no mandate for a legally binding treaty that would take in the US or the big developing countries like China and India,” Erwin Jackson tells The Sydney Morning Herald.

Source: Cop15

by S. C.
12 december 2009, Food & Fun > Nature

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