Developed countries are preparing to relent on their demand that developing countries agree to long-term cuts in greenhouse gas emissions in a concession that could form the basis of a global deal on climate change.
The demand was one of five key elements rich countries wanted for a deal at the international climate change summit in Copenhagen in December. But major emerging economies, led by China and India, refused to sign up to it, worrying it could be used to force large and so far unquantified emission cuts on them in the future.
Governments on both sides of the Atlantic are now softening their call for a global target of halving emissions by 2050, in an attempt to build a consensus around a less ambitious deal in Copenhagen.
Todd Stern, US President Barack Obama's special envoy for climate change who was in London yesterday for talks with the world's 17 biggest emitters, hinted at the softening stance: “Our view at the G8 in July was that there ought to be both a developed country number and a worldwide number: 80 per cent for developed countries, 50 per cent worldwide. We still think that.” But he added: “I don't know whether that is going to be included or not.”
美国总统巴拉克•奥巴马(Barack Obama)的气候变化特使托德•斯特恩(Todd Stern)昨日在伦敦与全球17个最大排放国的代表举行了会谈，他暗示富国立场已经有所软化：“今年7月我们在八国集团(G8)峰会上提出的观点是，应该有针对发达国家和全世界的两个指标，即发达国家减排80%，世界范围减排50%。我们仍然这样认为。”但他补充称：“我不清楚这是否会纳入协定。”
A binding agreement to cut emissions at Copenhagen is seen as unlikely, but negotiators believe the meeting will set out the political framework for reducing greenhouse gases.
Dropping the 2050 demand will make it easier to strike a deal in Copenhagen, as it will switch attention to how countries manage emissions in the next decade.
“Discussions on 2050 have been eating up time that could be more usefully spent determining what we do before we're all dead,” said one senior official involved in the talks.
Developed countries have already agreed to cut their emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, which will remain unchanged.
Ed Miliband, the UK secretary of state for climate change, also signalled the 2050 goal was dispensable. He praised the actions developing countries such as China and India were taking to curb emissions growth and said these pledges for the next decade were paramount.
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