Friday, 4 December 2009

Global emissions only 'few billion tonnes' short of targets, says Stern

Leading economist says world leaders are more than halfway towards pledges needed for effective deal at Copenhagen

Press Association, Thursday 3 December 2009 10.58 GMT
Offers on the table ahead of the Copenhagen climate change talks are only "a few billion tonnes" short of the scale of annual CO2 emission cuts required to meet 2020 environment targets, Lord Stern said today.
He acknowledged there was a "significant way to go" but insisted: "It is possible to get there."
The economist and global warming expert was speaking in Brussels after breakfast talks with European commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Yesterday in London he said world leaders were more than halfway towards the kind of promises needed to save the planet at Copenhagen.
His latest report says global emissions are currently 47bn tonnes of greenhouses gases a year, and could rise to 58bn tonnes in 2020.
To keep global warming to no more than a 2C, says his report, emissions should be held at about 44bn tonnes in 2020.
Today, stopping off in Brussels on the way to Copenhagen, he praised the "vital lead" taken by the EU, and went on: "If you look at the kind of offers that are now on the table we are just a few billion tonnes short per annum of the kind of emission cuts we need to get on target for 2020.
"That means there is a significant way to go but it is possible to get there."
Lord Stern said a "strong, outline, political agreement" at Copenhagen could lead to a dynamic industrial revolution. He said the "extra bit" that needed to be done would require increased commitments from some countries which had already made emissions-cutting offers, as well as a bigger fight against deforestation. "Both those things could take us there and I trust they are both possible."
Dr Pachauri said: "If we are serious about taking action then 2020 is clearly the date by which we must commit ourselves to reduce emissions substantially."
President Barroso repeated the EU's pledge to increase to 30% its current commitment to cut CO2 emissions by 20% by 2020 - but only when there are significant equivalent commitments from the rest of the developed world and "adequate" responses from poorer countries."We have set a unilateral, unconditional target of 20%: we cannot commit to more if others do not do so as well," he said.
In the last fortnight, India revealed a carbon intensity cut of 24% by 2020, China pledged an intensity reduction of 40-45% by 2020 and the US offered to cut total greenhouse emissions 17% by 2020. Carbon intensity is the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per unit of economic growth.