Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 33 n° 335

How big is the gap to 2 degrees?

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 18 dicembre 2009

The leaked paper from the UNFCCC Secretariat confirms that the world is badly off course to keep warming well below, or even close to, the widely agreed danger threshold of two degrees warming. Even the top end of the emission pledges currently on the table from industrialised and developing countries would set us on course for warming of around 3 degrees – and probably a lot more once a realistic assessment of the dangerous loopholes in industrialised country targets are taken into account. The UNFCCC report also makes a number of optimistic assumptions. Many of these must be fixed in the closing hours of the Copenhagen negotiations if the world is to stay well below two degrees warming. The assumptions are as follows:The five key assumptions are.: • That all industrialised countries move to the top end of their emission reduction pledges. The most obvious example would be the EU moving from its unilateral 20% reduction target for 2020 to its 30% pledge. • That enough finance and technical support will be made available by industrialised countries to allow developing nations to meet the top end of their emissions cut ranges. • That clear and consistent rules on accounting for land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) are applied to all countries.  • That all of the surplus emission allowances from the first Kyoto commitment period – often called ‘hot air’ – are taken out of the system. These surplus allowances arise from, for example, former communist eastern bloc countries whose economies shrank rapidly in the nineties. If those credits remain operative – and as yet there is no agreement on whether or how they could be  retired – then they will be carried over to the post-2012 agreement and allow future emissions to be higher, by more than one billion tonnes per year. • That every off-set credit purchased from a developing country under the Clean Development Mechanism is perfect and represents a real emission cut. In fact, a very significant proportion of CDM projects (some credible studies put the figure at around 40%) are not “additional” – and so effectively allow global emissions to increase. • That there is no “double-counting” of emission reductions from offset projects.  The UNFCCC’s paper makes absolutely clear that to give the world a good chance of staying below 2 degrees, and avoiding locking economies in to high carbon pathways, leaders at Copenhagen must: -agree much more ambitious emission reduction targets for industrialised countries. The UNFCCC paper says aggregate reductions of 30% below 1990 levels will be needed in 2020. However, scientists say that to give a decent chance of staying below 2 degrees, aggregate reductions of 40% are needed. -ensure provision of new, additional and predictable finance to support low-carbon growth and greatly reduce deforestation in developing countries. – Close down the major loopholes associated with carry over of surplus “hot air” from the first commitment period, accounting rules for land use and forestry emissions, and the use of offset mechanisms. (abstract) Taking stock – the emission levels implied by the current proposals for Copenhagen, a report for Project Catalyst by McKinsey, can be found at: A new assessment by respected consultants Ecofys and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research (CHECK) found that world is heading for warming of well over 3 degrees by the end of the century. See


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