Making sense of chaotic emissions reduction pledges

● By Dr. Colin Hunt, University of Queensland ● The idiosyncratic nature of pledges by countries to stem their greenhouse gas emissions is an indicator of the chaos that characterises international climate change policy. The countries that have quantified their cuts do so by different quantities and against different baselines. Other countries pledge, instead, to reduce their emissions intensity (the amount they emit per unit of gross domestic product) but at different rates over different periods. It is impossible for citizens of a country to see how their country’s target compares with other countries, or with what is required to stem global warming, because comparisons can’t be made without detailed analysis. The table below shows the four largest emitters' official national pledges to reduce greenhouse emissions. Together, they release 68% of the global emissions total. These pledges are compared with Australia’s commitment to reduce 2020 emissions by 5% against 2000 levels, and also with a 25% cut. Country Comparison of Pledges to Reduce Emissions - In translating Australia’s cuts to emission intensity (emissions/GDP) for comparison purposes it is assumed the growth in the country’s GDP to 2020 is equal to that for the last 10 years; that is, an annual compound rate of just over 3%. Colin Hunt You can see that Australia’s 5% effort is weak against the emissions cuts of the US and Russia. But translated to emissions intensity, it is on a par with China’s effort and far superior to India’s. The quantification of cuts has been strenuously opposed by China and India, because their emission levels are strongly correlated with economic growth. Their seemingly respectable cuts in emission intensity are designed to minimise economic impacts. The burden of reductions is thus not being shared equitably across the large emitters ...Zum vollständigen Artikel

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