Friday, May 8, 2009

New U.N. climate deal: not much bolder than Kyoto?

An airplane flies near emissions from a factory at Keihin industrial zone in Kawasaki, south of Tokyo November 12, 2008. REUTERS / Toru HanaiBy Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent - Analysis

OSLO (Reuters) - A planned new U.N. climate pact is shaping up to be a mildly tougher version of the existing Kyoto Protocol rather than a bold treaty to save what U.S. President Barack Obama has called a "planet in peril."

"There's not a lot of ambition around," said Jennifer Morgan, of the London-based think-tank E3G, of submissions to the United Nations published this month to meet a deadline for consideration in a deal to be agreed in Copenhagen in December.

Australia is a partial exception, saying on Monday that it would ratchet up planned cuts by 2020, if other nations also did so. But Canberra put back its planned carbon emissions trading scheme by a year to mid-2011, amid a recession.

Taking account of the new Australian offer, plans outlined by developed nations add up to average cuts in greenhouse gas emissions of between 9 and 16 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, according to Reuters calculations.

That is nearer the goal of the Kyoto Protocol -- an average cut by industrialized nations of 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12 -- than the 25 to 40 percent reduction below 1990 by 2020 outlined by the U.N. Climate Panel as the order of cutback required to avert the worst of global warming.

"The economic downturn is putting a brake on the level of commitment and investment to mitigate climate change," said Pep Canadell, head of the global carbon project at Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.

He said Australia's delay was a sign of economic strains. …

New U.N. climate deal: not much bolder than Kyoto?

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