lunes, 7 de diciembre de 2009

Qué quieren en #Cop15

Who Wants What in Copenhagen
Wall Street Journal

This week, officials from 192 countries will meet in Copenhagen to tackle global climate change, seeking a successor to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

Even if they can't negotiate a binding agreement, many countries hope at least to work out commitments to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions and provide assistance to poorer countries likely to be hardest hit by the effects of global warming.

Each country, of course, has its own particular priorites and concerns, which is why an agreement is so difficult to reach. Here's a look at some of their agendas for Copenhagen.

The U.S.'s failure to pass climate-change legislation has meant a delay in a deal at Copenhagen. But pending bills in Congress and the Obama administration's authority to regulate emissions give the country credibility—and negotiating leverage toward an eventual agreement. The U.S. may still pledge to cut emissions about 17% by 2020, while offering funding of low-carbon initiatives for poorer countries to draw them to an agreement. The U.S. also wants other countries, mainly China and India, to commit on when their greenhouse-gas emissions will peak, and will demand stringent standards for reporting, monitoring and verification of emissions and reductions.

China has pledged to curb carbon emissions as a percentage of gross domestic product by 40% to 45% by 2020. These would be voluntary cuts and therefore unlikely to be part of a binding climate-change pact. But it signals China's interest in an agreement at Copenhagen. Such a deal could bring the country benefits: more funding and technology transfers from developed nations, and as an exporter of solar-power and wind-power equipment, increased demand for its products. What China dreads most is the end of Kyoto provisions that grant tradable credits for reducing emissions; China has been the top receiver for the credits, getting 59% of the total.

India, which has long resisted the imposition of carbon-emission caps, says it is ready to cut emissions intensity 20% to 25% by 2020, but won't accept legally binding targets. It argues that it needs development and economic growth before it should consider fixed emission caps and that the developed world has a historic responsibility to take more restrictive measures because it caused decades of atmospheric damage. India also favors financing and technology transfer to boost green energy solutions.

Climate change isn't high on Russia's agenda; its attention is on the massive investments it needs to make its aging Soviet-era industrial infrastructure more energy-efficient—with a goal of a 40% improvement in energy efficiency by 2020. Diplomats say the country is willing to reduce emissions between 20% and 25% from 1990 levels. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says Russia will join a post-Kyoto agreement only if other countries sign up for it and if Russian forests' contribution to reducing global carbon dioxide is taken into account.

Brazil's government will aim to cut greenhouse-gas emissions between 36% and 39% by reducing deforestation in the Amazon rain forest and increasing the use of fuel-efficient cars and trucks that use biofuels as well as gasoline. But the emissions target is voluntary and depends on the government obtaining financing for the aggressive goals, indicating that Brazil isn't willing to stifle industrial output in Latin America's largest economy. And efforts to reduce deforestation in the Amazon could be stymied by lawlessness in the poverty-stricken region.

European Union
The 27-member European Union aims to speak with one voice in Copenhagen. Its goal: taking action that would limit global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). The EU intends to cut CO2 emissions 20% by 2020 from 1990 levels and is willing to raise that target to 30% if other countries commit to do their part. It is also ready to help developing countries financially, but it hasn't committed to specific figures. Some Western European countries advocate generosity, but some newer members from Eastern Europe are much less willing to pay.

Poland and other Eastern European nations want a deal that isn't too economically burdensome. The issue is how financial support for developing countries should be shared by EU members. Wealthy members propose making contributions proportional to a country's emissions. But because Eastern members' energy sectors rely heavily on coal, they would pay disproportionately more than if shares were based on their economic output. Poland also wants to be able to continue selling certain carbon credits after the Kyoto protocol expires in 2012. Because Poland has reduced CO2 emissions by 30% over the past 20 years, it can sell credits worth billions of euros.

African countries blame developed countries for greenhouse-gas emissions and want to be compensated for the impact of global warming. But they disagree on priorities. The African Union wants billions of dollars (leaders won't say exactly how much) to adapt to climate change, which is blamed for record droughts in East Africa and flooding in other regions. Oil-producing nations, such as Nigeria, want compensation for the lost revenues that could result from expected declines in oil consumption by industrialized nations.

In Indonesia, the world's No. 3 carbon-dioxide emitter (after China and the U.S.), much of the emissions result from deforestation. It probably will ask for international technology and funds for forest conservation. Also, it favors self-monitoring in future programs that give credits for reducing emissions from deforestation, and hints it will oppose efforts to create an international monitoring body. The nation pledges to cut emissions 26% by 2020 from "business-as-usual" levels, but officials say Indonesia will raise its target to 41% if it receives the international funding and technology support it needs.

Ecuador, an oil producer, will come to Copenhagen with a novel idea: get rich countries to pay $3.5 billion to keep 850 million barrels of its crude in the ground. The oil is located in a natural reserve of the Amazonian forest whose protection will be a cornerstone of the talks. A delegation of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Ecuador gets the group's presidency next year) has visited to look at the project. The government, which has renamed its oil ministry the "ministry of non-renewable resources," has pitched the idea to some European governments.

--Compiled by Ian Talley, Jing Yang, Paul Beckett, Alexander Kolyandr, Jeff Fick, Alessandro Torello, Marek Strzelecki, Benoit Faucon and Max Lin. They can be reached at

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