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Status Report on International Climate Treaty

There are only seven months until the global community plans to adopt a successor climate treaty to the failed Kyoto Protocol in Copenhagen, but  negotiators are far apart on the most important issues-binding emissions cuts and paying for a global green energy revolution. Here's a quick run down of the stakeholders bargaining positions.

On binding emissions reductions:

  • Developing countries refuse to reduce emissions. They want developed countries to commit to 40% cuts by 2020.
  • The European Union wants developed countries to commit to 30% cuts by 2020.
  • The Obama administration proposes 18% cuts by 2020, but it wants significant participation from rapidly growing developing countries such as India and China.
  • In the United States Congress, Reps. Henry Waxman (D-California) and Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts) have proposed a draft of a legislation calling for the United States to reduce emissions 20% by 2020, although they are meeting heavy resistance from both within their own party and Republicans.

On financing a global green energy revolution:

  • Developing countries demand.5%-2% of developed nations' aggregate GDP, annually, to facilitate climate change mitigation.
  • The European Union believes that developed nations need to raise and distribute $230 billion a year through 2020, but it refuses to discuss burden sharing until the U.S. submits a proposal.
  • The Obama administration has yet to address climate change mitigation aid to developing countries.
  • The Waxman-Markey draft bill does not address climate aid, but it is highly unlikely that the Congress would agree to pay scores of billions of dollars every year for clean energy in China.

It is my strongest hope that this deadlock  persists, so that we all may be spared the burden of an ill-conceived, economically ruinous climate change mitigation treaty.