The EU executive also proposed 15-30 percent cuts from all but the poorest developing countries below "business as usual levels" as part of international measures it says are vital to combat climate change. However environmental groups complained that the commission plan, which will be put to the 27 EU states at a March summit, is not ambitious enough.
EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas stressed that the richer nations would have to help fund the efforts of their poorer developing counterparts, though the levels of funding were not specified.
New European proposals for this year's crucial Copenhagen climate conference contain "some rhetoric in the right direction" but need to put forward more concrete commitments and accept a larger role in helping developing nations reduce their emissions and adapt to climate impacts, WWF said today.
In today's communication Towards a comprehensive climate change agreement in Copenhagen, the European Commission proposes how the EU should negotiate a global climate deal at the UN talks in December. EU Heads of Government intend to finalize the EU's position at the Spring Council in March.
"Europe needs to stop anticipating what the rest of the world might do and concentrate on what Europe should do if it wants to reclaim the reputation of leading in the fight against climate change," said Kim Carstensen, leader of WWF's New Global Deal on Climate initiative. "Europe's starting points have to be its own stated objective of a world staying below the average 2 �C warming that is the threshold level for unacceptable risks, and the 25-40 per cent cuts in emissions by 2020 that developed countries need to achieve to stay within this margin of safety."
WWF said Europe needed to go beyond restoring previous commitments to reduce emissions by 30 per cent over 1990 levels by 2020, and commit to achieving these reductions in emissions in Europe - with funds to be provided to developing nations for them to achieve emissions reductions equivalent to a further 15 percent of Europe's level of emissions. WWF described money on the table as "the make or break issue" for developing nations to substantially reduce their emissions as well.
"Existing and proposed emissions trading initiatives need to be supplemented by measures such as emissions performance standards for Europe's power stations," said Mr Carstensen.
"US States like California were beginning to demonstrate the effectiveness of such measures despite the hostility of the former US government and they have now received a green light from the new administration."
"Europe will increasingly be presented with the choice to follow suit or be left behind." "Substantial funding needs to be flowing before 2013 and the financing for mitigation measures needs to be matched with actual emissions reductions to be achieved," said Mr Carstensen.
"WWF also believes that the UN system, where developing nations have some real say, needs to retain a central role in the disbursement of the funds. "The funding flows should also be sustainable, predictable and additional to existing aid."
Posted on 29th January 2009
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