A fully-fledged climate treaty to fight global warming will not be reached next month in Copenhagen but a framework pact is still possible, the head of the European Commission said on the margins of an EU-US summit.
“Of course, we are not going to have a fully-fledged binding treaty – Kyoto-type – by Copenhagen,” European Commission President José Manuel Barroso told reporters before meeting with US President Barack Obama. “There is no time for that.”
But Barroso said he believed it was still possible to develop a framework agreement with clear commitments from developed and developing countries. Such a framework would include firm timetables for lower emissions from richer countries and an agreement on what actions developing countries will take, Barroso said.
Developed countries like the United States and EU members need to put “numbers on the table” for emission cuts and funding to help developing countries, he said.
The EU has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20% from 1990 levels by 2020 and is prepared to go as high as 30% depending on what others do, Barroso said.
But a month before the Copenhagen meeting, work in the US Senate on legislation to address climate change has barely begun and is not expected to finish this year. The Senate plan, which already faces stiff opposition, calls for a 20% cut in US emissions from 2005 levels.
‘Wait and see’ what the US brings to Copenhagen
Barroso credited Obama with improving the international mood surrounding climate negotiations by placing much more importance on the issue than his predecessor, George W. Bush.
President Obama said that efforts need to be redoubled in order to make progress at the Copenhagen. “And all of us agreed that it was imperative for us to redouble our efforts in the weeks between now and the Copenhagen meeting, to assure that we create a framework for progress in dealing with what is a potential ecological disaster.”
Barroso welcomed Obama’s efforts. “But let’s see what the United States is ready to present at Copenhagen,” he added.
The European Commission estimates that developing countries will need about $150 billion in public and private funding annually by 2020 to adapt to climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
EU members states agreed last week to provide a “fair share” of that funding, Barroso said, saying he planned to raise the issue with Obama. He said such financing would be linked to developing countries implementing national plans to cut emissions.
Negotiators from around the world will be meeting on 7 December to hash out an global agreement to lower the greenhouse gas emissions that are blamed for global warming.
Currently rich and poor nations are deadlocked about how to share the burden of curbing emissions and aid to fund a deal. “It’s quite obvious Copenhagen will not be the end of the road – but it can be a very, very important moment to signal at the highest level this kind of global agreement,” Barroso said.
Reinfeldt sounds wake up call
Meanwhile, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt on Tuesday (3 November) called on all countries to contribute to the success of the climate change conference in Copenhagen next month.
“We can only reach an ambitious agreement in Copenhagen if all parties contribute to the process,” Reinfeldt said in an op-ed piece in the daily Dagens Nyheter.
All developed countries must show their leadership to take on ambitious emissions reductions, present proposals on financing and intensify their work, said Reinfeldt, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency.
The developing countries must also present clear commitments that reflect their responsibility and ability, he said.
“My message to China is this: raise your ambitions so that emissions peak by 2020 at the latest and then fall,” said Reinfeldt, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency.
“We know that China has all the requirements for success and I hope that concrete commitments will be announced at the conference in Copenhagen,” he wrote in the article.
(EURACTIV with Reuters.)