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|The EU is calling on President Barack
Obama to cap US carbon emissions and sign up to a global system of
carbon trading between rich nations.
The European Commission said the US needed to join a carbon market
if it was going to raise the huge sums needed for combating climate
Rich nations had to raise 175bn euros (£162bn; $321bn) by 2020 for
clean technologies, the commission added.
More than half of that cash would go to developing countries, it
A further 23-54bn euros would be need to help poor nations to adapt
to climate change that was likely to happen.
Without that inducement to poor countries there would be no new
global climate agreement at the UN climate summit in Copenhagen in
"Without a credible financial package there will be no deal in
Copenhagen," EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said. "No
money, no deal."
Building global links
Mr Dimas said plans for a carbon trading scheme between the rich
nations in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
(OECD) were increasingly realistic.
Australia was already committed to a system of capping emissions,
allowing big firms to trade carbon permits between each other, he
New Zealand was moving towards a scheme and President Obama had
expressed his support for carbon cap and trade.
Mr Dimas pointed
out that America's new climate negotiator, Todd Stern, was
negotiator for the Clinton team which originally planted the idea of
carbon trading into the Kyoto Protocol, before America withdrew.
The commission aims to limit the world's temperature increase to 2C.
There is enormous uncertainty about climate projections, but the EU
calculates that to achieve this goal, global emissions need to peak
before 2020 and then be cut to less than 50% of 1990 levels by 2050.
The commission blueprint acknowledges that some scientists are
warning that even tougher targets are needed.
It says action will be needed from both developed and developing
countries. This has been a major sticking point in the US, where
Congress members refuse to agree to any deal which excludes
competitor nations like China.
UK Green MEP Caroline Lucas said the commission's proposals were
inadequate to tackle the scale of the challenge.
"The EU must commit to a 40-45% emissions reduction by 2020,
based on 1990 levels," she said.
"The EU and other industrialised countries need to agree to finance
at least half of the reduction effort that needs to be achieved in
developing countries. We regret that the commission communication
fails to set out an ambitious vision and merely rehashes existing
The EU says the Copenhagen deal should not oblige developing
countries to take on binding targets - which they would anyway
refuse. Instead it should insist that emerging nations provide
detailed plans of how they will slow the increase in their emissions
by 15-30% below business-as-usual projections.
Commissioner Dimas said China's existing ambitious plans to improve
energy efficiency by 20% in five years would probably qualify.
The commission's call for carbon trading was welcomed by John Bowis,
the Conservative environment spokesman in the European Parliament.
He said the commission "is right to point out that a fully
functioning carbon market must be extended to other developed
nations if it is to be fully effective.
"The battle of words between Europe and the US over climate change
is now over; the battle for the planet must now begin."
But faith in carbon markets is not universally shared. In the US,
Exxon Mobil said a carbon tax would be a more efficient way of
raising cash, with lower impact on business.
Steve Rayner, James Martin Professor of Science and Civilisation at
Oxford, agrees that carbon trading is an inefficient mechanism.
"The reality is that it cannot possibly deliver the deep emission
cuts that are required in the time available if we are to achieve
stable carbon concentrations by mid-century," he said.
"I think major public investment in bringing down the costs of
alternative technologies is essential and I think this is what we
will see happen at Copenhagen."
The commission proposals brought a mixed response from environment
and development groups.
The EU plans for innovative funding schemes to raise cash for
climate change were welcomed. But campaigners were angry that an EU
promise to funnel 30bn euros to poor countries was deleted from an
Commissioner Dimas said at a press conference that the scale of
funding would be matched to the level of ambition of developing
countries to install clean technology.
But Alison Doig of Christian Aid said: "These proposals will not
ensure that developing countries can prioritise poverty eradication
"The suggestions about which countries should pay for tackling and
adapting to climate change, and how much they should contribute, are
too crude to protect poor people."