Forum to seek 50% CO 2 cut, 80% by rich nations

Kyodo News

A multilateral forum on climate change is set to call for a 50 percent reduction in global emissions by 2050, with industrialized nations reducing their air pollution by at least 80 percent, according to a draft of its declaration.

The draft, to be adopted at the summit of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate on the sidelines of the Group of Eight summit this week in Italy, notes that it is “aware of the broad scientific view that the increase in global average temperature above preindustrial levels ought not to exceed 2 degrees.”

The draft was apparently referring to a proposal by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that developed countries cut emissions between 25 percent and 40 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels to keep temperatures below a 2 degree rise. Some economists and environmentalists see this as the threshold for dangerous climate change involving water scarcity, coastal flooding and infectious diseases.

Based on this conclusion, the Major Economies Forum leaders “support an aspirational global goal of reducing global emissions by 50 percent by 2050, with developed countries reducing emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050,” the document says.

The draft does not mention specific targets for advanced nations in terms of midterm reduction goals for 2020.

The G8 leaders are considering adopting a declaration of their own that would include similar long-term emissions reduction goals for 2050, according to diplomatic sources.

Such action is expected to provide momentum in international negotiations to create a carbon-capping framework by the end of this year to succeed the Kyoto Protocol.

But the sources said some emerging countries such as China and India aren’t on board for the 50 percent reduction goal, while Russia wants no part of the 80 percent cut for industrialized nations.

Negotiators for the members of the Major Economies Forum — the G8 countries, the European Union, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea — are expected to meet in Italy ahead of their leaders’ meeting Thursday, the middle day of the three-day G8 summit, and work on finalizing the draft.

“Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time,” the draft says. “As leaders of the world’s major economies, we intend to respond vigorously to this challenge, being convinced that climate change poses a clear danger requiring an extraordinary global response.”

The leaders will also pledge to “dramatically increase and coordinate public-sector investments in research, development and demonstration of transformational low-carbon technologies, with a view to doubling such investments by 2015.”

They will show support toward the launch of “fast start” funding to help developing countries work out low-carbon growth plans.