Much of the news currently out of Copenhagen seems to be coming from developing nations--100 of them just banded together to call from stronger cuts from industrialized nations, in order to keep global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. On top of that, the G-77, a group representing most of the world's developing countries, has specifically called on Barack Obama and the US to commit to deeper carbon cuts.100 Nations for 1.5 or Below
First, let's look at the news that the majority of nations at COP15--there are 192 in attendance--are now calling for stricter cuts than are currently aimed for, according to Reuters. Right now, the non-binding target among the international community is to keep the global temperature from rising more than 2 degrees C. But many island nations and others most threatened by climate change say that's simply not enough--a rise of 2 C could put them underwater.
Their demands are steep, however--45% emissions cuts from 1990 levels by 2020--and seem rather infeasible, considering the US's current pledge is a measly 4% below 1990 levels. Which brings us to the direct call on US president Barack Obama:
G-77 Wants Deeper Cuts from the US
The G-77 addressed Obama directly in a call for stronger reduction targets and aid for developing nations coping with climate change:
"USA is the world's largest emitter historically and per capita. A reduction of four percent (compared to 1990) will not help save the world. We ask USA to join the Kyoto Protocol and take on commitments comparable to Annex 1 countries (industrialized countries)," Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping, chair of the G-77, told a press conference.Which is an absolutely reasonable request, and a correct assessment. And a call for aid is justified as well, especially considering that investing in renewable energies in developing economies could yield a major boom for US industries. Di-Aping continued: "This is a challenge that President Barack Obama needs to rise to as a Nobel Prize winner and as an advocate of a multilateral global society. We know he is proud to be a part of that community through his family relations in Africa," Di-Aping added. "The American Congress approves billions of dollars in defense budgets. Can you not approve 200 billion to save the world?"
But, US negotiator Todd Stern has already come out against the idea of pledging reparations for past emissions, though he said the US would certainly pledge aid. And $200 billion, however necessary, useful, or productive for the US to pledge is just far too large a figure for US negotiators to consider accepting.