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Serious loopholes in UN climate change treaty

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Tuesday, 10 August 2010 10:38

Joint SEI/TWN research shows that current pledges amounts to only 12-18 percent reductions below 1990 levels without loopholes.

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Developing countries have argued strongly for minimum 40 percent emission cuts from industrialised nations by 2020 and previous reports from SEI shows that such a cut is possible.

However, a new study presented by SEI senior scientist Sivan Kartha and the Third World Network (TWN) at the Bonn UN climate talks in June 2010, shows that loopholes in the current negotiating text would actually allow rich nations to increase greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade.

Business as usual
The study, which analysed the emission reduction pledges made by industrialised countries as part of last year's Copenhagen Accord agreement, shows that when all loopholes are taken into account, emissions could even rise by nine percent.

- Industrialised countries pledged a modest reduction in their emissions at the Copenhagen talks last year, but these loopholes would actually allow them to grow them substantially well into the future, says Sivan Kartha to The Guardian.

- This means they [rich nations] need not do anything to hold emissions. They could accumulate huge amounts of credits to continue business as usual, Karta says.

- A farce
The joint SEI/TWN study analysed four loopholes that are considered well known, but not prioritised so far in negotiations.

These loopholes include land use and forestry credits, carbon offset credits gained from UN Clean Development Mechanism schemes, surplus carbon allowances accumulated by former Soviet countries under the Kyoto Protocol and international aviation and shipping emissions not currently included in emission reduction schemes.

-  The more we look into the loopholes the worse it gets. The whole thing begins to look like a farce, says Lim Li Lin, a legal specialist with TWN.
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