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Report urges UN talks to close Kyoto loopholes

United Kingdom
Business Green
04/08/2010

Pressure continued to mount on industrialised countries to agree to more ambitious carbon targets at the latest round of climate change talks in Bonn yesterday, after new research revealed that loopholes in the current negotiating text would actually allow rich nations to increase greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade.

The joint study from the Stockholm Environment Institute and Third World Network, which was distributed to delegates at the Bonn meeting, analysed the emission reduction pledges made by industrialised countries as part of last year's Copenhagen Accord agreement.

It found that current pledges amounted to emission reductions of between 12 and 18 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020, but also revealed that numerous loopholes meant that overall greenhouse gas emissions from rich countries could rise by nine per cent.

The research analysed four separate loopholes that have been repeatedly highlighted by campaigners but are yet to have been addressed as part of the long-running UN negotiating process.

It concluded that a combination of land use and forestry credits; carbon offset credits distributed through the UN-backed Clean Development Mechanism; the failure to incorporate emissions from international shipping and aviation into the international treaty and, perhaps most significantly, the large numbers of surplus carbon allowances held by former Soviet nations under the Kyoto Protocol, meant industrialised countries could exploit accounting rules to technically meet greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets while still overseeing an increase in their actual emissions.

"Industrialised countries pledged a modest reduction in their emissions at the Copenhagen talks last year, but these loopholes would actually allow them to grow them substantially well into the future," Sivan Kartha, senior scientist at the Stockholm Institute, told the Guardian. "This means they [rich nations] need not do anything to hold emissions. They could accumulate huge amounts of credits to continue business as usual."

The research came as the group of 43 small islands also warned that emission reduction targets from rich nations did not go far enough and could be diluted further by the failure to address the billions of dollars' worth of carbon allowances held by eastern European countries.

The group reiterated calls for industrialised countries to agree to targets that would cut greenhouse gas emissions 45 per cent against 1990 levels by 2020.

Despite the continuing standoff over emission reduction targets, there was some progress on the vexed topic of climate financing yesterday, with the launch of an innovative joint initiative from Ecuador and the UN designed to protect a 675-square-mile area of the country's rainforest.

Ecuador signed a deal that will see the UN administer a fund that rich countries can pay into in return for a guarantee that Ecuador will not exploit the estimated one billion barrels of oil found in the Ishpingo-Tiputini-Tambococha in the Yasuni National Park.

The country is seeking $3.6bn (£2.26bn) as part of the deal, which represents about half the value of the oil at current prices.

"This is Ecuador's contribution towards combating climate change," minister of heritage Maria Espinosa told reporters, adding that the funding agreement could provide a template for other developing countries that would allow them to curb carbon emissions, increase investment in renewable energy and protect biodiversity.

Germany kicked off the new fund, agreeing to provide $50m a year over 12 years, but no other countries have yet signed up to the scheme despite reported interest from Spain, France and Switzerland.

El contenido de las noticias que se presentan en esta sección es responsabilidad directa de las agencias emisoras de noticias y no necesariamente reflejan la posición del Gobierno de México en este u otros temas relacionados.

    

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