US, China, EU carbon pledges better not enough: report
New plans by the United States, China, and European Union to curb carbon emissions would yield global warming of about three degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit), a better-than-predicted but still unsafe level, a report said Monday.
If achieved, stricter targets announced by the three giants, together responsible for just over half of Earth-warming greenhouse gases, would result in warming 0.2 C to 0.4 C lower by 2100 than had been projected without them, according to the Climate Action Tracker (CAT).
"China, the US and the EU are proposing additional action that, if implemented, would reduce projected warming to around 3 C," said co-author Bill Hare, executive director of Climate Analytics.
This is "better than it would have been but still substantially above the almost universally-agreed goal of holding warming below 2 C."
The report was released on the sidelines of UN negotiations in Lima for a world pact to limit climate change.
CAT is a tool developed by four research institutions to measure whether government pledges, and actions, are sufficient to meet the 2 C UN goal.
Last month, in a deal with the United States, China committed for the first time to limiting its greenhouse gas output—setting a target date of about 2030 for its emissions to peak.
It also pledged that 20 percent of its energy would come from renewable sources by 2030.
The United States, in turn, said it would cut its emissions by 26-28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025.
In October, the 28-nation EU agreed to cut emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030 over 1990 levels, and adopted 27-percent targets for renewable energy supply and efficiency gains.
Taken together, these steps amounted to "significant progress", said the CAT, but were nevertheless "insufficient."
The policies that the three governments had put in place to meet the new targets did not reflect the ambition in the pledges themselves, and would lead to warming of 3.9 C by 2100.
The CAT said it was now up to other big emitters like India to announce ambitious plans, and cautioned that of 22 countries analyzed, "very few of the pledges are consistent with limiting warming below 2 C."
"We only have a very limited amount of carbon that can be burnt by 2050, and we calculate that current policies would exceed this budget by over 60 percent by that time," said Hare.
"We clearly have a lot of work to do."
Negotiators in Lima are seeking agreement on sharing out responsibility for the required cuts in soaring emissions, which requires a costly shift from cheap and abundant fossil fuels to less polluting energy sources.
© 2014 AFP