Copenhagen global warming talks suspended over rich-poor divide
Negotiations on a deal to curb greenhouse gas emissions and head off global warming were suspended Monday morning in Copenhagen, with poorer countries charging wealthier nations aren't prepared to make necessary cuts in CO2 emissions.
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Several observers say they are optimistic that so-called quick-start financial aid for developing countries is nearly at hand. At least $10 billion a year would be provided between 2010 and 2012 and be increased beyond that if poorer countries demonstrate they can responsibly spend the money to convert to more efficient power sources and curb their own greenhouse gas emissions, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2).Skip to next paragraph
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The European Union has vowed to contribute $3.6 billion a year to that effort and Japan has offered some $3.1 billion a year. If the US puts up between $2.5 billion and $3 billion a year, the remaining gap likely would be filled by industrial countries outside the EU.
Money for China?
But building a recipient list has generated sharp exchanges between China and the US.
During a briefing last week, Washington's top negotiator, Todd Stern, dismissed the idea that China would receive international aid to pay for its conversion to cleaner technologies.
"We would intend to direct our public dollars to the neediest countries," he said. "China, to its great credit, has a dynamic economy that is sitting on some $2 trillion of reserves. So we don't think China would be the first candidate for public money."
China's lead negotiator Yu Duingtai told reporters that given Washington's unwillingness to live up to its previous pledges under the Framework Convention on Climate Change, "what they should do is some deep soul-searching."
Long-term financing beyond 2012 is more murky. Aid requirements after 2012 reach more than $100 billion an year -- which would include both donor aid and money raised through carbon-trading.
Developing countries want clear commitments from rich countries and a bigger say in how the aid they receive is managed. Developed countries want to be sure any aid comes with rigorous standards for tracking that money to ensure it's being used for its intended purpose and that results from its use can be verified.
Developed countries are also asking "what are the mitigation packages developing countries are putting on the table that they are asking us to pay for? We need to see those programs. That quid pro quo is the heart of these negotiations," Dr. Deutz says.
A 95 percent cut in 1990-level emissions
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said, in effect, if politcians select as their target a 2-degree rise above preindustrial levels for global average temperatures, rich countries will have to cut emissions by 25 to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and by up to 95 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Developing countries would have to reduce their emissions growth-rates substantially below business-as-usual projections.
Here, developing countries are insisting that rich countries continue to make deep emissions cuts. And implicit in the draft text released Friday is an expectation that emissions from major developing countries would peak and begin falling in absolute terms by 2050.
Yet figures on the table from north and south come nowhere near the reductions needed to achieve the 2-degree mark. A new analysis by Climate Interactive, a group of researchers from five institutions, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Tufts University in the Boston area, suggests that all of the emission-control offers currently on the table from rich and poor countries alike put the climate on a path to warming of 3.9 degrees C by the end of the century.
"We're really down to a small set of crunch issues," Mr. Schmidt says.