What We Got Out of the Major Economies Forum


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The Major Economies Forum in Mexico has come to an end with no public agreements about what the world's biggest polluters will do about climate change. The lead US negotiator, Todd Stern, did make news by saying that the US doesn't believe that 40 percent emission reductions are possible by 2020, despite the fact that scientists recommend that figure for industrialized nations in order to stave off catastrophic climate change.From Reuters:

The world needs to cut emissions of greenhouse gases by 25 to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 if the worst effects of climate change are to be avoided, according to the United Nations' Climate Panel.

Poorer nations led by China have been pushing rich countries to cut emissions of greenhouse gases by 40 percent or more but wealthier countries have balked at these proposals.

"The level of 40 percent below 1990 levels is in our judgment not necessary and not feasible," Stern said.

Stern also said the ACES bill now being debated in Congress is the best the American political system can yield for action on climate change. The bill has a target of 4 percent reductions in emissions from 1990 levels and a 83 percent reduction by 2050. Both targets represent a transformation of the US economy, but both fall well short of what we need to keep below a 2 degrees C temperature rise, the number considered the climate tipping point.

The MEF leaders will now have side talks at G8 Summit in L'Aquila, Italy on July 9 to continue discussions over climate agreements. On the agenda, other than targets for the big polluters, will likely be a Green Fund designed to help poorer countries with global warming mitigation and adaption. Mexico, site of the MEF this past week, has suggested that all countries contribute to the Fund but that poorer nations get the benefits from it according to their needs, GDP per capita, and other factors. Mexico suggested the fund begin with a modest $10 billion dollars and then scale up.

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