U.N. climate chief calls for G8 emissions pact

Kyodo News

The head of the Nobel Prize-winning U.N. climate panel is urging Japan to exercise leadership during the upcoming Group of Eight summit in setting midterm and long-term global targets to cut carbon emissions.

“I would feel very happy if in the G8 meeting all the leaders agree that by 2020 the world has to cut its emissions by X percent and by 2050 it has to cut them by Y percent,” Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said in a recent interview in Tokyo.

“I’m not saying that every (G8) country has to come up with a target,” he said. “But I think collectively, they have to show their support for global action which would not be vague, should not be on general principles, but it should be based on some very concrete targets.”

Pachauri, an Indian economist and environmental scientist, said a 2020 target is “very important” because it would be closely linked to a new carbon-capping framework beyond the expiration of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012.

Pachauri recommended that developed countries as a group by 2020 slash greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent to 40 percent below 1990 levels, a range advocated by the IPCC. He also said global emissions must peak in the next 10 to 15 years.

“Even if they (G8 leaders) agree on 25 percent, I think that will be very good,” he said. “I think they can have a very positive influence on the negotiations,” he said, referring to U.N. negotiations to craft a post-Kyoto regime, which some 190 countries agreed last December to conclude at a high-level U.N. meeting in Copenhagen in December 2009.