Major economies consider halving world CO2

OSLO Thu Jun 25, 2009 1:38pm EDT

Steam and other emissions are seen coming from funnels at an oil refinery in Melbourne June 24, 2009. REUTERS/Mick Tsikas

Steam and other emissions are seen coming from funnels at an oil refinery in Melbourne June 24, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Mick Tsikas

OSLO (Reuters) - Major economies including the United States and China are considering setting a goal of halving world greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 when they hold a summit in Italy next month, a draft document showed.

The text also says the 17-member Major Economies Forum (MEF) will seek to double public investments in low-carbon technology by 2015 and boost funding from both public and private sources as well as from carbon markets to fight global warming.

The draft was put forward by the United States and Mexico at talks in Mexico this week, without reaching accord before a MEF summit on July 9. U.S. President Barack Obama launched the MEF to help toward a new U.N. climate pact due in December.

"We support an aspirational global goal of reducing global emissions by 50 percent by 2050, with developed countries reducing emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050," according to the draft text, obtained by Reuters and dated June 22.

Last year, industrialized nations in the Group of Eight agreed at a summit in Japan to a "vision" of halving world greenhouse gases by 2050 to help avert ever more droughts, floods, heatwaves and rising sea levels.

Developing countries including China, India and Brazil did not adopt that 2050 goal in Japan, arguing that the rich first have to set tough 2020 cuts for themselves. The MEF summit will be on the sidelines of this year's G8 summit in Italy.

The two-page draft declaration does not set clear goals but says that developed countries, including the United States, the European Union and Japan, would "undertake robust aggregate and individual mid-term reductions in the 2020 timeframe."

RECESSION

Developing nations such as China and India say that the rich should cut emissions by "at least 40 percent" below 1990 levels by 2020 -- a target developed nations say is out of reach when they are trying to stimulate recession-hit economies.

And the text says developing nations would take actions by 2020 to ensure a "significant deviation from business as usual" to slow rising emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels.

The text also stops short of setting a peak year for global emissions. "The peaking of global and national emissions should take place as soon as possible, recognizing that the timeframe for peaking will be longer in developing countries," it said.

The 17 MEF members account for 80 percent of global emissions so any agreement among them would go a long way to defining a new U.N. climate treaty due to be agreed in Copenhagen in December.

The text also says that the nations will set up a global partnership aiming to double public sector investments in research and development of low-carbon technologies by 2015.

The partnership would seek to remove barriers and create incentives to promote technologies "such as energy efficiency; solar energy; smart grids; carbon capture, use and storage; advanced vehicles; and bio-energy."

The text also says that funds to combat climate change "will need to be substantially scaled up to address climate change." It suggests a "fast start" funding, perhaps of $400 million, to help developing nations.

The text also goes some way to acknowledging a goal of the EU and many developing nations to limit global rises in temperatures to no more than 2 Celsius above 1990 levels. That goal has not been adopted by the United States.

The text mentions that leaders are "aware of the broad scientific view that the increase in global average temperatures above pre-industrial levels ought not to exceed 2 degrees C."

(Editing by Janet McBride)