Carbon emission reduction pledges to go for a toss

Rather, if fulfiled the pledges will stretch the upper limit to 3 degrees, with far more dangerous consequences.

At the summit, 76 most-polluting nations agreed to restrict the increase in global warming up to 2 degrees Celsius. Everybody committed to undertake emission cuts so that temperature does not go through the roof. But precisely that’s going to happen if all pledges are met in letter and spirit, according to the first scientific analysis of the pledges published in the journal Nature.

As many as 76 countries, accounting for about 80 per cent of global emissions, have submitted pledges to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change so far detailing the initiatives they are undertaking to limit their emissions of greenhouse gases by 2020.

However, according to countries’ stated plans, the global yearly emissions of greenhouse gases will increase by 10 to 20 per cent above current levels and reach amounts equivalent to 47.9 to 53.6 giga-tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2020. This would result in a greater than 50 per cent chance that warming will exceed three degrees Celsius by 2100.

To be on track for meeting the “below two degrees” target, global emissions of no more than 40 to 44 giga-tonnes.

The revelation comes merely on the eve of the second post-Copenhagen meeting of BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) beginning in Cape Town on Sunday. Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh left for the meeting on Friday.

Besides arriving at a common negotiating position, the BASIC group will map out possible climate talk outcomes over the two year period and evaluate the climate change negotiations in 2010 and 2011.

Other agenda would be to find out how long the Kyoto Protocol will survive and what will happen in the second commitment period post 2012. The possible outcome of Cancun climate summit would also be under discussions.

While fleshing out the policy instruments for emission cuts remains a political decision for individual countries, the researchers made it clear that both developed and developing countries need to cut their emissions to keep the planet within the 2 degrees envelop.

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