Sat, December 11, 2010
Sci-Tech > Science > Cancun Climate Change Conference 2010

Draft climate deal urges rich nations to cut emissions up to 40%

2010-12-11 07:03:51 GMT2010-12-11 15:03:51 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

CANCUN, Mexico, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- A draft deal from the ongoing UN climate meeting in the Mexican resort city Friday called on rich countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 to 40 percent compared with 1990 levels.

"Achieving the lowest levels assessed by the Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) would require the parties as a group to reduce in a range of 25 percent to 40 percent," said the draft being discussed at the 16th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The document urged the parties to raise their own level of emissions reduction and make contribution to the global target.

The commitment of the UNFCCC parties falls around 40 percent short of what is needed to keep the average global temperature 2 degrees Celsius lower than the pre-industrial level, according to a United Nations Environment Program report released last month.

The previous climate conference had reached consensus on the commitment in Copenhagen, Denmark, last year.

The document also unveiled the emissions reduction targets that developed nations wish to reduce via land use changes and reforestation activities.

In the document, the European Union pledged to reduce emissions by 283.2 megatons of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mte), followed by Canada with 105.4 Mte. Russia also promised to lower its emissions by 89.1 megatons.

However, these targets were not linked with a second commitment period in the Kyoto Protocol, a legally binding supplementary accord of the UNFCCC. The Protocol's first commitment period will expire in 2012 and participants in the UN climate talks are bitterly arguing on the mandate of the second commitment period.

Canada has large and growing forests and Russia suffered a collapse in its forestry industry in the 1990s. However, neither wants to commit to a new period of the protocol.

In addition, the document proposed to add wetlands to the emissions cut process for the first time, but on a voluntary basis. Such a move could substantially help cut emissions in Europe, where there are large numbers of dried out peat bogs.

On Thursday, World Bank President Robert Zoellick said that the disappearance of soil carbon, mostly organic material held in the top layer of land, via erosion, is now roughly representing 13 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, just falling behind deforestation which represents 17 percent.

Zoellick suggested that a full agreement on this matter might be reached at the next climate meeting scheduled for 2011 in Durban, South Africa.

The Cancun gathering, starting on Nov. 29 and due to conclude later Friday, drew some 25,000 government delegates and representatives of non-government organizations, business and academic institutions.

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