Thursday, May 07, 2009

Plans for New UN Climate Agreement Lack Ambitious Targets for Reducing Emissions

If anyone expects that the Kyoto Protocol will be replaced by a new UN climate agreement that finally addresses what climate scientists say needs to be done to avoid a climate catastrophe it looks like they will be sorely disappointed. Reuters has analyzed plans submitted by developed nations for a new pact and the targets for greenhouse gas emissions reductions are not much stronger than the tepid ones of the Kyoto Protocol. Reuters concluded that the cuts called for range from 9 to 16 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. The Kyoto Protocol calls for a 5 percent reduction in emissions from developed countries by 2012. What do the climate scientists say is needed? According to the 2007 report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) emissions reductions of 25 to 40 percent below 1990 levels are needed by 2020. The cuts may even need to be steeper based on emissions data obtained after the report was released. For all the pronouncements we have heard from leaders of the developed countries that global warming needs to be finally addressed based on scientific knowledge none of them apparently are willing to do it. Perhaps at the final hour the leaders of the developed countries will face the facts and finally do what is needed but right now it seems far more likely that they will postpone taking the necessary steps even though postponement may almost guarantee future disaster.

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