Wednesday, 16 December 2009

EU challenges United States and China to keep global emissions to below 2 degrees

Makereta Komai, PACNEWS, Climate Pasifika
 Copenhagen, 16 December - The European Union has appealed to the United States and China to be honest with each other and the world and commit to keep global warming below two degrees celsius.

“I turn to you as a friend and committed partner and say, unleash your full potential and make it possible for the world to stay below two degrees, said Andreas Calgren of Sweden, who spoke on behalf of the 27 member European Union group of countries.

“From the United States, we expect, as from all developed countries, a legally binding economy wide commitment to reduce emissions. From China, we expect binding actions. Your ability to reduce emissions will be absolutely critical.

“You have come forward with your contributions in an international context, however the world needs more and we are confident that you have the ability to deliver, said Mr Calgren.

He said Copenhagen will not succeed without important contributions from emerging economies which must also reduce emissions significantly compared to business as usual.

The European Union has a binding legislation in place that will reduce emissions beyond 2020 and is prepared to reduce emissions by up to 95 percent by 2050 compared to 1990.

“We call on other developed countries to make this objective part of our Copenhagen Agreement.”

Almost the same theme was echoed by the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), who urged all the developed countries to ACT NOW because millions of people around the world are waiting on Copenhagen to deliver.

“Such action must include deep and immediate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, in line with the requirements of the science. Annex 1 countries must reduce in excess of 45 percent compared to 1990 levels by 2020, with global emissions peaking no later than 2015. This will ensure that we proceed along a path will restrict long term temperatures to well below 1.5 degrees celsius, said Tilman Thomas of Grenada on behalf of AOSIS members.

To achieve such safe levels, “ALL countries – developed and developing, will have to take strong measures to achieve these emissions reductions, said PM Thomas.

Long term co-operative commitment to mitigation remains a ‘sticking point’ in the current negotiations. Numbers and figures continue to be bracketed in the draft negotiating texts making it’s difficult to come to reach a consensus on an agreed text.

This morning, in a surprise move, the President of the Conference of the Parties (COP), Connie Hedegaard resigned, after intense pressures from the parties who showed no confidence in her leadership of the negotiations. She has been replaced by the Prime Minister of Denmark, Lars Lokke Rasmussen.

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