Industrialised countries still spewing out more greenhouse gases: UN

November 18th, 2008 - 2:27 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 18 (IANS) Greenhouse gas emissions in industrialised countries are continuing to rise, the UN Climate Change Secretariat has reported.Data submitted to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) shows that emissions of 40 industrialised countries rose by 2.3 percent between 2000 and 2006, the secretariat said in a statement issued from its Bonn headquarters.

The statement comes two weeks before the start of the next UNFCCC climate change summit at Poznan, Poland.

The secretariat reported that emissions in the 40 countries - which have an obligation under the UN convention to report their greenhouse gas emissions - stayed in 2006 about 5 percent below their 1990 baseline emission figures.

Greenhouse gas emissions, mainly carbon dioxide, are leading to climate change that is already affecting farm output, increasing frequency and severity of droughts, floods and storms and raising the level of the sea to the point that some coastal areas are already inundated.

The report that industrialised countries are continuing to increase their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is likely to lead to acrimonious exchanges between them and developing countries at the Poznan summit.

The secretariat reported that industrialised countries that have signed the Kroto Protocol committing to reduce their GHG emissions - famously, the US has not - had by 2006 brought down their overall emissions to 17 percent below the Kyoto baseline but they were still growing after 2000.

“The initial decrease in Kyoto countries’ emissions mainly came about through the economic decline of economies in transition (countries in eastern and central Europe) in the 1990s,” the secretariat said.

“Meanwhile, the biggest recent increase in emissions of industrialised countries has come from economies in transition, which have seen a rise of 7.4 percent in greenhouse gas emissions within the 2000-06 time frame.

“The figures clearly underscore the urgency for the UN negotiating process to make good progress in Poznan and move forward quickly in designing a new agreement to respond to the challenge of climate change,” said Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of UNFCCC.

The UN’s top climate change official also noted that accounting data, including emission quotas for the Kyoto commitment period 2008-12, have been finalised for almost all Kyoto countries.

Such data is already used in emissions trading conducted by countries in accordance with the rules established by the Kyoto Protocol.

“Emission quotas defined by the Kyoto Protocol are no longer simple numbers on paper - they are part of real time operation of the global carbon market,” said de Boer. “We see the carbon market working.”

The UN Climate Change Conference in Poznan (Dec 1-12) constitutes the half-way mark of a two-year negotiating process, set to culminate in an ambitious international climate change deal in Copenhagen next year.

In Poland, negotiators will take stock of the progress made in the first year of the talks and map out what needs to be done to reach agreement at the end of 2009. The meeting will also be an important opportunity for ministers to determine the key ingredients of a shared vision on long-term cooperation to address climate change, de Boer said.

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