Major developed and developing countries around the world have now submitted their targets for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, in accordance with the Copenhagen Accord. A non-binding deal negotiated in the last days of December’s UN Climate Change Conference, the Copenhagen Accord called on countries to voluntarily submit mitigation targets by January 31, 2010.
The Canadian government, consistent with its plan to coordinate climate change efforts with those of the United States, proposed to reduce its emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. Prior to Copenhagen, the federal government had proposed reducing Canada’s emissions by 20% below 2006 levels by 2020. The new target weakens Canada’s emissions-reduction goal by nearly 20 million tonnes by 2020.
At the time of writing, another 91 countries, including the 27 members of the European Union, had announced or were expected to announce their association with the Copenhagen Accord. Of these countries, many major emitters also provided mitigation targets:
- The United States proposed to reduce its GHG emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020, conditional on the passage of (and any targets in) future domestic climate change legislation.
- China undertook to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 40%–45% below 2005 levels by 2020. It also pledged to increase the share of nonfossil fuels in primary Chinese energy consumption to around 15% by 2020. Finally, China proposed to increase national forest cover by 4o million hectares and forest volume by 1.3 billion cubic metres above 2005 levels by 2020.
- India targeted a 20%–25% reduction in its 2005 emissions intensity by 2020.
- Brazil submitted a list of voluntary mitigation measures designed to reduce emissions by 36.1%–38.9% below 2020 business-as-usual projections.
- The EU-27 pledged to reduce their emissions by 20% below 1990 levels by 2020, with an additional pledge to increase this cut to 30% if other major emitters took on “their fair share of a global reduction effort.”