Climate Change

Draft Climate Change Agreement Released

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As environment mnisters gather at the Copenhagen climate change conference, a draft agreement outlining broad goals for cutting global greenhouse emission was issued by the chair of Long Term Cooperative Action Group. As the New York Times reports the draft proposal calls

…for 2020 emission cuts from all wealthy nations on the order of between 25 and 40 percent below 1990 levels, with a target of keeping global temperatures from rising no more than 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius (2.7 or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) from preindustrial levels.

The Times also reports:

That is a target that pushes developed countries further than most have been willing to go. It also makes no mention of when emerging countries with fast-rising emissions like China and India will need to peak their greenhouse gas output and begin cutting.

U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern dismissed the possibility of any new agreement that does not also require China, India and other fast-developing countries to make deep cuts.

"You can't even have that discussion if the major developing countries aren't taking a real role," Stern said. "This structure is kind of a structure that reflects old think, and we can't get the problem solved that way. We don't want to start a negotiation on that basis. This is very much driven by the environmental imperative."

Developing countries also criticized the plan. Poor countries expect billions of dollars -- some have argued as much as $200 billion annually -- from the industrialized world to protect themselves from impending natural disasters and to help move away from fossil fuels themselves. It is one of the hot-button issues for vulnerable nations, but the text only leaves a blank spot to be filled in with details later.

Go here to read the complete draft proposal.