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Copenhagen Accord Climate Pledges Too Weak: UN

Alister Doyle and Gerard Wynn

A man selling brooms rides his bicycle past abandoned buildings in front of a chimney billowing smoke from a nearby coal-burning power station in Beijing March 10, 2010. (Credit: Reuters/David Gray)

More than 110
countries have signed up to the Copenhagen Accord on fighting global
warming, but the United Nations said on Wednesday their pledges for
cutting greenhouse gas emissions were insufficient.

The first formal U.N. list of backers of the
deal, compiled since the text was agreed at an acrimonious 194-nation
summit in December, showed support from all top emitters led by China,
the United States, the European Union, Russia, India and Japan.

Backers also included small emitters from
Albania to Zambia.

The accord,
which falls short of a binding treaty sought by many nations, sets a
goal of limiting global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6
Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times. But it leaves each nation to set
its own targets for 2020.

Yvo de
Boer, outgoing head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat which
compiled the list, said pledges for cutting greenhouse gas emissions so
far fell short of that goal.

"It is
clear that while the pledges on the table are an important step toward
the objective of limiting growth of emissions, they will not in
themselves suffice to limit warming to below 2 degrees Celsius," he said
in a statement.

An April 9-11 U.N.
meeting next week in Bonn, Germany is the first since Copenhagen and
will try to pick up the pieces from a fractious summit in December often
deadlocked on procedure.

overall aim of the talks is to agree a successor to the existing Kyoto
Protocol after 2012 and de Boer said the accord could help formal
negotiations toward a successful outcome in Mexico, which will stage the
next U.N. climate conference of the world's environment ministers in
Cancun in late 2010.

A final deal
may not be sealed until the following U.N. ministerial climate meeting
at the end of 2011 in South Africa, he told reporters. One cause for
delay is that U.S. carbon capping legislation is stalled.

The accord had agreed to raise $100 billion
climate aid annually by 2020, and $30 billion from 2010-2012 to help
poor nations slow emissions growth and cope with impacts such as floods,
droughts and rising sea levels.


More than 80 countries had not yet
supported the deal but could still do so, de Boer said. Those countries
included loud critics of the Copenhagen summit such as Bolivia,
Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and Sudan.

nations that stayed off the list included OPEC countries such as Saudi
Arabia, which fears a loss of oil revenues if the world shifts to
renewable energies, and some small island states such as Tuvalu which
fear rising sea levels and want more aggressive action.

The Secretariat said that 112 parties --
111 nations and the European Union -- had so far signed up for the
accord. The list of 111 includes the 27 individual EU states.

It said 41 rich nations submitted goals to
cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and 35 developing countries
outlined plans to limit growth of emissions. Together they account for
more than 80 percent of world emissions from energy use.

The Copenhagen Accord was merely "noted" by
the 194-nation summit after objections by a handful of developing
nations. The United Nations then asked all countries to say if they
wanted to be listed or not. Wednesday's list is the result.

Many emerging economies were initially
reluctant to sign up after the deal failed to gain universal support,
even though the original text was worked out by U.S. President Barack
Obama with leaders of states such as China, India, Brazil and South

Many developing nations
want the 1992 U.N. Climate Convention to guide U.N. negotiations on a
new treaty, arguing that it spells out more clearly that rich nations
must take the lead. Washington, by contrast, favors the Copenhagen

The accord would not form a
blueprint for a new treaty, de Boer said.

by Jon Hemming)

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