Fifty-five major industrial powers that produce nearly 80 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions have submitted voluntary CO2 reduction targets, but a top UN climate official says they still fall short of what’s needed to limit future temperature increases to 2 C (3.6 F).
Meeting a Jan. 31 deadline established at the December climate summit in Copenhagen, the European Union set a goal of reducing emissions 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020; Japan pledged to slash CO2 emissions by 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020; the U.S. set a more modest target of reducing carbon dioxide emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020; and China vowed to cut the so-called “carbon intensity” of its economy — the amount of CO2 produced per unit of gross domestic product — by 40 to 45 percent by 2020.
Some conservationists hailed these targets as an important step in slowing global greenhouse gas emissions, but Janos Pasztor — the top climate advisor to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon — said that even with these voluntary reductions “it will still be quite difficult to reach 2 degrees.”
Meanwhile, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao reversed an earlier position and said he supports the ratification of a binding global agreement on CO2 reductions at the next major round of climate talks in Mexico City this December.
Article appearing courtesy of Yale Environment 360