European Union Calls on China, India to Cut Emissions
July 2, 2009 - 11:28 AMThe chances of concluding a new global climate change pact remain dim unless China, India and Brazil make significant cuts in carbon dioxide emissions as well a senior Swedish climate change official said Thursday.
Lars-Erik Liljelund, special climate change adviser to the Swedish government, said cuts from richer countries in the 27-nation bloc or planned cuts in the United States will not be enough to meet aims to cut at least 25 percent of emission from 1990 levels.
"The problem at the moment is that if you take the contributions made so far by the United States, the European Union and Japan then we don't come up to that minus 25 percent," he told reporters. He said cuts from those richer countries and regions would only reach two-thirds of that minimum target.
"We will have serious problems if China, India, South Africa and Brazil" also do not pitch in, said Liljelund. "We are entering a climate crisis."
Those countries were exempt under the 1997 Kyoto protocol climate change pact which runs out in 2012.
Sweden, which holds the EU presidency, is in charge of leading the European position at U.N. climate change negotiations which aim to conclude a new, worldwide climate change pact in Copenhagen in December.
Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said getting a new emissions cutting accord will be his top priority as EU president.
The new agreement - a successor to the 1997 Kyoto protocol - is controversial because key industrial polluters such as the United States and Europe want newly emerging economies to also help cut global gas emissions.
The overall aim of the successor treaty is to cut greenhouse gas emissions by between 25 and 40 percent from 1990 levels starting in 2012.
The 27-nation EU has already agreed to reduce CO2 emissions by 20 percent of 1990 levels by 2020 - a number that could be increased to 30 percent if other countries sign on.
The United States, which walked away from the Kyoto agreement, has changed its course under President Barack Obama. But European official say proposed cutbacks now being considered by U.S. lawmakers are insufficient.
A U.S. Congress bill approved last week by the House of Representatives would cut emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, ignoring the 1990-2005 period during which U.S. emissions rose by 15 percent according to EU data.
(Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)