EU Offers 95% Emission Cuts by 2050, 30% by 2020 - If Climate Deal Signed in Copenhagen

poland coal power plant photo

Poland isn't so pleased by proposed emission reductions, saying it will hurt their coal dependent economy. Photo: irgendwo via flickr.

Game on! In an effort to show that it really is the world leader in addressing climate change, the European Union has said that it will cut its greenhouse gas emissions up to 95% by 2050, with a short-term target of 20-30% reductions by 2020, provided that a global climate deal is signed in Copenhagen in December:While The Guardian points out that Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace have called the 2020 target inadequate -- and frankly this is one area where bigger is surely better -- the upper range is within what scientists say is required to avert the worst of global warming's impacts.

In touting the strength of the agreement, Sweden's environment minister said, "This should be seen as a clear message to the world. We expect to reach an agreement in Copenhagen."

Signing of Climate Deal Not At All Assured
That assuredness isn't shared by everyone at the negotiating table however. A deep gap remains between the offered emission reductions in the US climate bill winding its way through Congress and the level of commitment that both India and China (now partners in a five year climate change cooperation agreement) have said will bring them on board to a global agreement.

In fact, Yvo de Boer, head of the UN Climate Change Secretariat, has recently said the odds of achieving a global deal by the end of COP15 are decreasing, due to the fact that just five official negotiating days remain before the start of COP15 on December 7th to bridge this gap.

Developing Nations Need to Make 15% Emission Reductions Too
Furthermore, Reuters quotes De Boer as making a suggestion which won't sit well in India and China -- If developed nations agree to 25-40% emissions reductions by 2020, then developing nations should also commit to binding emissions targets:

If industrialized countries are reducing by 25-40% by 2020, I think you would also by 2020 perhaps need to see something in the order of a 15% deviation below business as usual in developing countries.

While India and China have said they will take domestic efforts to combat climate change -- including the possibility of non-binding emission targets -- both have made it clear that binding targets will not be acceptable for them.

Two Billion People With Low Personal Carbon Footprint = World Leading National Emissions
As nations, China is the world's number one emitter of carbon and India now occupies the fourth place position globally. However, on a per capita basis both nation's carbon emissions are among the lowest in the world.

In fact if every person on the planet emitted carbon at the level of the average Chinese person, that level of consumption could probably be extended globally -- something that's even more true of India, where per capita emissions are about one-tenth of those of Europeans and one-twentieth those of US residents.

Global Climate Change
India Won't Commit to Binding Emission Reductions - Which is Why Rich Countries Must Make Deeper Cuts
European Union Proposes €15 Billion per Year to Help Poor Nations Combat Climate Change
What Will Happen After COP15? Three Possible Scenarios

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