The Dernogalizer

December 18, 2009

EU ups Target to 30% below 1990 levels by 2020 (See Update)

**Update**  11:49 pm, I’m hearing now that because of disappointment with the nature of the accord, the EU is going back to the 2020 target.

This just recently came in, the EU has raised the bar for it’s emissions reductions target, raising it from 20% below 1990 levels by 2020 to 30%.  This is a good step in the right direction.  Now the US and China need to step Obama.  It hasn’t been looking too good in that regard.  Below is an update by the AP on the efforts to get a deal.  I’ll skip over analysis of President Obama’s speech, it was pretty lackluster, but the real action is happening right now at this tails into the night in Copenhagen.

By JENNIFER LOVEN, AP White House Correspondent – 1 hr 29 mins ago

COPENHAGEN – President Barack Obama raced from one impromptu meeting to another and made an animated plea for compromise Friday, making plain his frustration over the difficulty of pushing world leadersto settle on a plan to combat global warming.

“We are running short on time,” Obama told the 193-nation summit as the clock was running out on its final day. “There has to be movement on all sides.”

Working into the night and putting his departure time in question, Obama had scheduled a second one-on-one meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao after an earlier session of nearly an hour. But that second meeting did not take place and it was unclear why.

Officials had said the two men made a step forward in their earlier talks, though the degree of progress was not clear.

Obama also attended a a third meeting with other world leaders that included Wen.

China sent lower-level officials to two other unscheduled meetings of nearly 20 leaders, including Obama. But the direct talks between Obama and Wen underscored efforts to resolve differences that represent one of the major roadblocks in reaching a global climate deal. The U.S. has been insisting that China, the only nation that emits more heat-trapping gasses than the U.S., make its emissions-reduction pledges subject to international review.

Without mentioning China specifically, Obama addressed Beijing’s resistance in his speech.

“I don’t know how you have an international agreement where we all are not sharing information and making sure we are meeting our commitments,” he said. “That doesn’t make sense. It would be a hollow victory.”

Obama indirectly acknowledged that some nations feel the United States is doing too little to reducegreenhouse gas emissions, and he urged leaders to accept a less-than-perfect pact. Meanwhile, he offered no new U.S. concessions.

“No country will get everything that it wants,” Obama said.

It’s possible that Obama’s biggest success here will have nothing to do with the climate. He met with the Russian president and said afterward that the United States and Russia are “quite close” to a new nuclear arms control agreement to replace an expired Cold War-era arms control treaty.

In his speech, Obama said the United States has acted boldly by vowing to reduce greenhouse gasses and help other nations pay for similar efforts. Critics note that many industrialized nations have promised much larger reductions.

And yet Obama arrived in snow-covered Copenhagen with no new proposal from the U.S. side. Some had hoped he might increase Washington’s emissons-cut pledge, now only a fraction of those from otherdeveloped countries, or put a specific dollar amount on America’s expected contributions to short- or long-term aid funds to help poorer nations deal with the effects of climate change.

Obama had planned to spend only about nine hours at the summit. But the second meeting with the Chinese premier promised to add several hours to his stay.

The U.S. commitment to reduce greenhouse gasses mirrors legislation before Congress. It calls for 17 percent reduction in such pollution from 2005 levels by 2020 — the equivalent of 3 percent to 4 percent from the more commonly used baseline of 1990 levels. That is far less than the offers from the European Union, Japan and Russia.

Even that target was hard-won in a skittish Congress, and Obama has decided he can’t go further without potentially souring final passage of the bill, approved in the House but not yet considered in the Senate. He also could imperil eventual Senate ratification of any global treaty that emerges next year.


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