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UN climate chief asks G8 summit to agree on 2020 emission targets

UN climate chief Yvo de Boer.
by Staff Writers
Geneva (AFP) June 23, 2008
UN climate chief Yvo de Boer on Monday urged next month's Group of Eight summit in Japan to come to an agreement on mid-term targets for carbon emission cuts.

"My hope is that the G8 summit would lead to a agreement amongst G8 countries on the direction of their emission reductions by 2020. So perhaps agreeing that their efforts should be guided by a certain range of emissions reductions," De Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), told journalists in Geneva.

Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, however, had said earlier this month that the G8 summit would not set medium-term targets and that the forum would instead look towards a longer-term target.

But De Boer pointed out that while it was "important to define the final destination of the journey", what he was "also very interested in is what the first stop on that journey is going to be."

He also called for an acceleration in negotiations for the new pact to tackle global warming, warning that time is running out for the world to reach a historic deal in Copenhagen next December.

"In fact we have very little meeting time left in order to reach the agreed outcome in Copenhagen that everyone is working towards. I have the feeling that the speed of the negotiations really needs to pick up from here on," he said.

With the United States in the midst of a presidential election, a change in the world's largest economy's administration would not help in accelerating negotiations.

Negotiations on targets for industrialised nations, for instance, had to be postponed to next year due to the change in the US administration.

De Boer said however, that other issues could still be negotiated in the meanwhile.

In addition, he pointed to the importance of the US Senate in any deal.

"It is important to remember that many of the reasons why the US rejected the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 are just as relevant today as they were then. It is very important as part of the negotiations to be fully attuned to the US Senate which will remain in place and which will ultimately be the body that decides whether or not a Copenhagen agreement is ratified and enters into force."

A UN-backed conference in Bali in December set a deadline of the end of next year to reach a climate deal on emissions cuts for the period after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

The United States, the only major industrial nation to reject the Kyoto Protocol, has said any solution on climate change must involve all countries, including developing states.

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EU CO2 emissions drop 7.7 percent from 1990 levels: EAA
Paris (AFP) June 20, 2008
Greenhouse gas emissions from the European Union dropped 7.7 percent from 1990 to 2006, even as the use of carbon dioxide-intensive coal increased, the European Environment Agency said Friday.

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