UN panel eyes 45% emissions cut for developed nations by 2020

May 21, 2009 2:43 am 

TOKYO, May 20 — Developed countries as a group should reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 45 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels to lead the fight against climate change, according to a negotiating text released Wednesday by the chair of a UN climate change panel.

The text eyes cuts of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases by "more than 95 percent" by 2050 for industrial countries. It also says developing nations as a group should cut emissions by 25 percent by 2050 from 2000.

The text, issued by Michael Zammit Cutajar, chair of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, will serve as a basis for discussions at the next round of UN climate change talks slated for June 1-12 in Bonn, Germany.

The text presents several options for a 2020 target for developed countries, calling for cuts below 1990 levels "by at least 25-40 percent," "by 25-40 percent," "by more than 25-40 percent," "in the order of 30 percent," "by at least 40 percent," "by 45 percent," and "by at least 45 percent."

For a long-term target, the working group advocates emissions reduction for the industrialized world "by more than 95 percent" or "in the range of 75-85 percent" by 2050.

The advocated ranges for 2020 are far more ambitious than six options Japan is considering prior to an announcement of the country's medium-term emissions target in June.

A government panel has been studying six options for Japan's greenhouse gas emissions target for 2020 ranging from a 4 percent increase to a 25 percent reduction from 1990 levels.

The Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommends that developed countries as a group reduce emissions by 25-40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020.

Japan has vowed to cut its emissions by 60 to 80 percent by 2050 from current levels.

The text urges developing countries to cut emissions by 2020 to "significantly deviate" from a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario where countries employ few measures to curb emissions.

The text also says that supported by technology, financing and capacity building from developed countries, the developing world should slash emissions ''in the order of 15-30 percent'' from projected levels based on a BAU scenario.

Emissions targets for industrial countries for 2020 and mitigation actions by emerging economies such as China and India represent a major focus of UN negotiations for a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

The negotiations are scheduled to conclude at a key UN climate change conference in Copenhagen in December. (PNA/Kyodo)

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