EU slams top economies on climate summit targets
The EU on Thursday urged India, Indonesia, Brazil and other major economies to immediately submit their emissions reductions targets to help avoid failure at the UN climate summit in Paris later this year.
In hard-hitting remarks in Brussels, EU Climate and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete warned that the window of opportunity for 195 countries to agree a deal aimed at limiting the rise in global temperatures "is closing fast" and called for speeding up technical negotiations.
So far he said 56 countries representing 61 percent of global green-house gas emissions have handed in their reduction pledges, just over a quarter of the total countries.
"Key G20 countries such as Argentina, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey must submit their intended contributions without delay," the Spanish commissioner said.
In March, the European Union, the world's third biggest emitter, became one of the first blocs or countries to formally submit its pledge to the United Nations.
The second biggest polluter the United States and the number one emitter China have also submitted their pledges in the last few months.
Canete praised these contributions, also noting the efforts of "some of the most vulnerable countries from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific" to come up with proposals.
The failure of so many of the world's 20 biggest economies to submit their pledges made it difficult to calculate the total cuts still needed to limit global warming to no more than two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels, Canete said.
The calculation needs to be done quickly, he said, to "know where we stand" before the climate conference, which kicks off in around 100 days in the French capital.
"The window of opportunity to keep the global rise in temperature to two degrees is closing fast," he warned.
Canete's remarks were the first time such a senior EU official had publicly named countries to come forward quickly with their emission reduction pledges.
EU sources told AFP the 28-nation EU already launched in March a campaign urging 60 countries to submit their pledges as soon as possible but analysts said the appeals fell on deaf ears despite the bloc's combined diplomatic heft.
'Painfully slow' talks
He also said that while governments have increasingly demonstrated the "political will" to reach an agreement, "in the negotiating room progress has been painfully slow."
He added: "The technical negotiations must go faster."
The European Union has tried to lead by example.
Last October its member states agreed to cut emissions by 40 percent by 2030 over a benchmark of 1990, a binding target that Canete hails as the world's "most ambitious."
US President Barack Obama set a target for the United States, the world's second biggest polluter after China, to cut its overall emissions by 26-28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025.
The UN Paris conference from November 30 to December 11 will seek to crown a six-year effort by 195 nations with a post-2020 pact on curbing greenhouse gases.
"Paris needs to send a credible signal the world is serious about fighting climate change," Canete warned.
According to the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the global mean temperature could rise by up to 4.8 C this century alone, a recipe for more drought, flood and rising seas.
© 2015 AFP