New York Times: China and India Join Climate Accord
The New York Times
China and India Join Climate Accord
By JOHN M. BRODER
Published: March 9, 2010
WASHINGTON China and India formally agreed Tuesday to join the international climate change agreement reached last December in Copenhagen, the last two major economies to sign up. The two countries, among the largest and fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the world, submitted letters to the United Nations agreeing to be included on a list of countries covered by the Copenhagen Accord, a three-page nonbinding statement reached at the end of the contentious and chaotic 10-day conference.
China and India join nearly 200 countries that have signed up under the accord, which calls for limiting the rise in global temperatures to no more than 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, beyond pre-industrial levels.
The agreement also calls for spending as much as $100 billion a year to help emerging countries adapt to climate change and develop low-carbon energy systems, to bring energy technology more quickly to the developing world and to take steps to protect tropical forests from destruction. The 192 nations gathered at the Copenhagen climate meeting did not formally adopt the accord, but merely voted to "take note" of it. The inclusion of China and India has only a minor practical effect but will provide a boost for the agreement's credibility.
"After careful consideration, India has agreed to such a listing," Reuters quoted India's environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, as telling Parliament on Tuesday. "We believe that our decision to be listed reflects the role India played in giving shape to the Copenhagen Accord. This will strengthen our negotiating position on climate change." Mr. Ramesh confirmed India's action in an e-mail message. India sent a letter on Monday to the United Nations Framework Conventin on Climate Change, the body responsible for international climate negotiations, stating its intent to join the Copenhagen Accord.
China's chief climate change negotiator, Su Wei, submitted a single-sentence letter saying that the United Nations "can proceed to include China in the list of parties" signed up under the accord. Todd Stern, who leads the American climate change negotiating team, said he was pleased to see China and India sign on. "The accord is a significant step forward, including important provisions on mitigation, funding, transparency, technology, forests and adaptation," Mr. Stern said by e-mail. "More than 100 countries have agreed to be among the list of countries, and that number is growing.
Moreover, all of the world's major economies, representing over 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, have submitted pledges to limit or reduce their emissions under the accord."
Analysts who have studied the pledges find that they fall short of the overall goal of the agreement, but would make a substantial dent in the greenhouse gas emissions that are heating the planet. China has said it will try to voluntarily reduce its emissions of carbon dioxide per unit of economic growth a measure known as "carbon intensity" by 40 to 45 percent by 2020, compared with 2005 levels. India set a domestic emissions intensity reduction target of 20 to 25 percent by 2020, compared with 2005 levels, excluding its agricultural sector. The United States pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 17 percent by 2020 compared with 2005, contingent on Congress enacting climate change and energy legislation.
Negotiators are trying to write an enforceable global climate change treaty, but there is little expectation that such an agreement will be reached this year. The European Union's climate commissioner, Connie Hedegaard of Denmark, said Tuesday that nations should now aim to reach an agreement in 2011 at a United Nations conference in South Africa, rather than this year in Mexico.
Speaking at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, Ms. Hedegaard said she had hoped to complete a treaty this year in Mexico, "but the signals coming out of various capitals of big emitters unfortunately do not make that likely."
James Kanter contributed reporting from Brussels.
Not a word about deforestation, the only way to delay the Global Tipping Point that will bring out Gigatons of frozen Methane from the Ocean and send the planet on its way to the Energy balance temperature of 845 Deg Fahrenheit, like Venus (twice Auschwitz oven temperature).