Factbox: Australia-Norway plan to rescue U.N. climate talks

Sun Oct 2, 2011 7:43am EDT

(Reuters) - Australia and Norway have crafted a proposal they hope will get troubled global climate talks back on track and win agreement on a broader climate pact by 2015.

If they succeed, it could mean a new climate deal could go into force by 2018 once nations sign and parliaments ratify the pact. But the idea is likely to face resistance from developing countries, which back an extension to the existing Kyoto Protocol.

Following are the main details from Australia and Norway's September 16 submission to the United Nations climate change secretariat.

THE OBJECTIVE

To steer nations toward agreement on the shape and timing of a new climate pact at major U.N. climate talks in Durban, South Africa, in two months.

Climate talks in Cancun last year ended with a pledge by nations to take steps to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius and to hold a review from 2013-15 on whether steps by major greenhouse gas emitters will achieve this goal.

Australia and Norway say nations must now agree on how to formalize their emissions reduction steps, such as setting economy-wide energy intensity targets.

Many countries, rich and poor, have pledged steps or taken targets to curb greenhouse gas emissions but these need to be standardized so that all efforts can be equally compared and verified.

TIMELINE

At Durban, nations should:

-- give more details on what steps they can take to curb emissions, such as targets to cut emissions by 2020, baseline years or policies to support investment in green energy, and put these in a standardized format.

-- Formalize targets and actions that could be included in an annex or some other documentation, agree to updating these annually to 2015 and allow for rapid-scaling up of ambition.

-- Figure out guidelines on how to compare each other's steps to curb emissions in a transparent way.

-- Decide to negotiate a new treaty.

In 2012

-- Work on rules that allow international checks but which also take into account each country's unique circumstances, such as how to include emissions from wildfires.

2013-14

-- Submit national reports on efforts to fight climate change.

-- Calculate what these steps for rich and poor nations actually translate to in terms of reductions in emissions.

2015

-- Figure out ways to increase individual country, and collective steps.

-- Incorporate rich nation targets and actions by poorer nations into a new legally binding deal for all parties. This boosts confidence that all major polluters will act.

COVERAGE

All major emitters. But least developing countries would be excluded from legally binding obligations.

Parts of the existing Kyoto Protocol could also be incorporated into the new pact. "Parties can begin at Durban by agreeing principles, guidelines and rules to ensure rigorous, robust and transparent accounting of targets and actions, drawing on the rules of the Kyoto Protocol," the submission says.

The submission can be found here: here

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