February 2, 2010

Update - Copenhagen Accord

The NY Times reports that 55 developed and developing countries submitted emission reduction plans to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the body overseeing global negotiations. Two major nations — Mexico and Russia — had not submitted plans as of Monday evening.

Most major nations — including the United States, the 27 nations of the European Union, China, India, Japan and Brazil — restated earlier pledges to curb emissions by 2020, some by promising absolute cuts, others by reducing the rate of increase from a business-as-usual curve. 

United Nations officials said that the countries that have already filed plans account for 78 percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally.

Analysts said that even if all nations met their promises, the world would still be on a path to far exceed the Copenhagen agreement's central goal of limiting global warming to less than 3.6 degrees above the pre-industrial era. The C-ROADS climate simulator suggests global warming will increase by 7 degrees above the pre-industrial era based on the current commitments incorporated into the Copenhagen Accord. 

"The pledges put on the table to date do not put us on track to meet that goal and will make it very difficult for us politically and technically beyond 2020 to meet that target," said Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The United States, in a submission last Thursday, repeated President Obama's promise to cut emissions "in the range of" 17 percent by 2020 compared with 2005 levels — but only if Congress enacts legislation that meets that goal, a far-from-certain prospect.

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