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« As International Pressure Mounts, Obama Sets U.S. Emissions Reduction Target for 2020 | Main | Beantown Going Green One Peddle at a Time »

Major Industrial Nations Criticized for Setting Weak Emissions Reductions Goals

Image courtesy of GreenRoofOffsets.co.uk.

As the world approaches the much anticipated Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen next month, European environmental leaders are expressing disappointment with countries such as the United States, Canada, Ukraine, and Russia.

“If industrialized countries are unwilling to do their bit, we can’t expect others to do theirs. We are calling upon developing countries to follow the European example in reducing emissions by pledging to cut them by 30 percent by 2020,” said Environmental Commissioner Stavros Dimas to the members of the European Parliament in an address earlier this week, discussing anticipated challenges in Copenhagen.

Mr. Dimas highlighted the following three major challenges that he expects will arise during the conference.

  • How to lower emissions in industrialized economies.
  • How to guarantee that developing countries accept ambitious goals for emissions reductions.
  • Where to find the necessary funding to help developing countries meet the targets.

Jo Leinen, chairman of the environmental committee, voiced his belief that, “The European Union needs to take up the leadership (role) for a binding and ambitious global agreement, and the year 2020 must be the turning point for greenhouse gas emissions.”

Mr. Dimas speculated that, “The fight against climate change could cost 20 to 50 billion euros a year after 2020,” which would facilitate costs including the development of technologies for carbon captures, carbon monitoring systems, job training, and other logistics for the development of infrastructures.

European Parliament members expresses numerous concerns during the meeting including:

  • Industry lobbies watering down the agreements.
  • America’s position regarding emissions reduction commitments.
  • Agreements possibly favoring non-European businesses by allowing the transfer of technologies toward developing countries.

On the last point, Mr. Dimas tried to reassure members that the opposite would in fact true and that “such agreements would help develop a green economy in Europe, thus opening new possibilities and creating new jobs.”


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