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Copenhagen Accord Scoreboard

Published 31st January 2010 - 2 comments - 1991 views -

Today is a beginning of a new process in the international arena. Hopefully by the end of this year in Mexico, the international community will be able to come up with a new deal.”
- Changua Wu, the director of the Climate Group (see Poor response to climate deadline)

The deadline for submitting greenhouse gas emission targets to comply with the non-treaty called Copenhagen Accord is today. Climate news junkies may be reloading a Google News search but, actually, USCAN is doing the job for us at...

Who's On Board With The Copenhagen Accord?

Reported statements, promises expressed in comparable units, emission measures and more neatly arranged in a table and alphabetical order by country.

Thus, on top of the page is Australia, promising a minimum reduction by 2020 of at least 5% unconditionally but as much as 25% depending on what other countries promise. Australia accounts for 1.3% of the global GHG emissions, 27.4 tonnes CO2 equivalents per capita. Translated to the 1990 scale that's actually between -3.89% and -24.1%.

A little further down the page we have Brazil whose president has already turned a promise of emission reductions from 36.1 to 38.9% into law. Emitting 6.6% of the GHG at 15.3 tonnes per person they are another very big country but with a lot more people.

The stats from Brazil could hardly be any more different from those of Australia. What further complicates the math is that Brazil's pledge is based on a business as usual (BAU) projection whereas Australia's is based on the year 2000 emissions. These considerations and more are to be taken into each pledge as they tick in on the news desk.

Just to finish our ABC let's take a look at Canada; comparable to Australia carbon wise if not otherwise. Environment Minister Jim Prentice this Saturday promised Canada’s goal is to reduce GHG emissions by 17% below its 2005 levels by 2020 which should keep them at pace with USA. No less important, he also praised the wreckage of Kyoto which Canada signed and then violated.

The unfulfilled promise of Kyoto we leave behind us. This is an approach that will work. It will only work if everyone who emits carbon puts forward their reduction obligations and does so in the way Canada has today. Canada is committed to the Copenhagen Accord. This is the framework that Canada sought. It is a framework that applies to everyone who emits carbon and is therefore an approach that has the prospect of success”

Actually, according to Canadian environmentalists, this pledge is a retreat from past promises! It corresponds to a +0.25% rise from 1990 levels. (See Canada moves to lower greenhouse target, critics say)

The US they say to be mimicking promised 17% reductions from 2005 levels, corresponding to -3.67% from 1990 levels. No article about this subject would be complete without mention of the country responsible for 15.78% of global emissions at 23.1 tonnes per year per person.

China and India are on their “carbon intensity” reduction path. Not just to confuse things further, but because they insist on their rights to increase their domestic production. It does include promises of emission targets though and especially China seems to be quite serious about implementing green energies.

Then there are the - apparently - good guys like Norway, The European Union and Japan. Each have GHG-equivalents emissions at about 11 tonnes per person, but the EU totals to 11.69% of the worlds emissions, compared to Japan's share of 3.14%. Each have pledged reductions from the 1990 baseline not some other later and higher level year. Japan promises 25% reductions, the EU 20% to 30%. Norway is a special case as it emits very, very little as it is and have pledged reductions up to 40%.

Another special case is the Maldives. True to their COP15 campaign, deftly run by Foreign Minister Ahmed Shaheed, they have just pledged to go carbon neutral by 2020. That's a 100% reduction compared to any year in case you were wondering. Of course, the Maldives are so small their contribution to the global GHG emissions are less than 1/100,000. But on the other hand, the effects of climate change on them might also be “100%”. (see Maldives Pledges 100 Percent Mitigation Target under Copenhagen Accord)

As of writing, the USCAN are behind on updating their table. But we can check back later. Just for the records, not for the thrills, that is. Because there will not be any such inspiring news to read there. And the over all result is not sufficient to limit temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius or less above pre-industrial times (See Copenhagen climate deal gets low-key endorsement). Meanwhile the Danish government is celebrating having helped form an international agreement that “contains a number of positive elements and assembles the world's biggest CO2 emitters, and the poorest and most vulnerable developing countries in a global framework” (see Danish parliament evaluating COP15).

However, there is also something besides democracy and nations united. And I'm not thinking of activism. From speeches Saturday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland:

We are going to provide some ideas built around a Green Fund devoted to finance the $100 billion a year, which is the figure which is commonly accepted that is needed for addressing the problem. [Climate change] cannot be seen as a problem that cannot be solved. […] If it's obvious that developing countries don't have the money to pay for adaptation and mitigation of the climate change problem because they have this debt sustainability problem, directly linked to the solution we provide for this crisis, then we'll have to find innovative ways to finance it.”
- Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) (see IMF Chief Proposes $100 Billion Annual Fund to Tackle Climate Change)

Who would have imagined such words just a few years back? Something has indeed changed.

Category: Climate Politics, UN Climate Change Conference 2009, | Tags: cop15, un, copenhagen accord, greenhouse gas emission,


Benno Hansen on 03rd February 2010:

A comment from Greenpeace: Pledging to destroy the climate

“governments tried to greenwash their failure at the UN Copenhagen climate summit by merely repeating existing targets and dressing them up as action. So far, these targets will fail to hold global warming to below 3 degrees C; an increase which threatens to have horrendous consequences.

What will it take for politicians to realise that time is running out?”

Abhishek Nayak on 09th February 2010:

There indeed is some positive change in the way politicians are treating this problem but as you point out, the time is running out.

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