Dangerous “emissions gap” emerging – needs targets and funding Media Release

Dec 08, 2008 - 2:00am

Lack of ambition from developed countries is risking the emergence of a dangerous pollution reduction “gap”, according to joint research from The Climate Institute and the newly formed Global Climate Network* to be released today (Monday) at UN Climate talks in Poznan, Poland.

The “emissions gap”, or the difference between developed countries’ overall pollution reduction target and the necessary global target with extra developing country effort, would cause an overshoot in safe global pollution levels with potentially devastating consequences.

“Shortfalls in emission reduction targets and clean technology financing commitments from European, US and developed countries including Australia, risk the chances of an effective global deal and need to be addressed with urgency,” said the Climate Institute’s Director of Policy Erwin Jackson, from Poznan.

“To ‘close the gap’ and engage developing countries, developed countries need to bolster their 2020 targets and support proposals for multi-billion dollar investments in new clean technology in developing countries.”

“Australia can’t help close the emissions gap if our target is just a 15% reduction by 2020 and there is no plan to provide finance through emissions trading permit revenue or other sources.”

The Global Climate Network, a prestigious international coalition of research and advocacy groups* - including the Climate Institute – launched its report Closing the Mitigation Gap – the challenge facing a shared vision at the UN climate talks in Poland.  The report is based on analysis from Dr Paul Baer of Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment.

“The analysis shows the window is rapidly closing on avoiding a global increase in temperature of above 2oC, an increase that will threaten Australia’ water supplies, food security and industries such as nature based tourism.”

The report finds that current proposals from the US and EU  for reducing greenhouse pollution by 2020 aren’t enough to put global reductions on track for a halving or better by 2050 even with significant developing country involvement hosting offsets for developed countries.

The analysis shows, for example, that if all industrialised countries make comparable efforts to the EU 30% reduction proposal then the required gap between these targets and avoiding dangerous climate change is up to 3.6 billion tonnes of Carbon in 2020 (more than twice the annual emissions of the USA).

“This standoff needs an urgent solution or it will stall the global talks at a crucial stage.  To be part of the solution, Australia needs strong 2020 targets of at least 25% reductions and credible financing plans, preferably linked to the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.”

“The Global Climate Network is a vital new global voice able to speak to leaders of major emitting developed and developing nations.  The Climate Institute is proud to be a foundation member, said John Connor, CEO, The Climate Institute

*The Global Climate Network includes climate policy groups from the UK, USA, India, China, Brazil, Germany and Nigeria includes Institute for Public Policy Research (UK), Centre for American Progress (founded by John Podesta, President-elect Obama’s transition chief), and The Energy and Resources Institute in India (headed by IPCC chief Dr RK Pachauri).

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