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EU welcomes commitments of U.S., China on emissions reduction

2009-11-27 10:22 BJT

Special Report: UN climate change conference in Copenhagen |

BRUSSELS, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU) welcomed on Thursday the commitments made by the United States and China in recent days concerning emissions reduction in the run-up to the United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen next month.

In a joint statement, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU, and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso welcomed the news that the United States and China "have both indicated what they are prepared to do, in concrete numbers, on mitigation."

"We are analyzing carefully what the U.S. and China are proposing to bring to the table, and remain in close touch with both delegations," the two EU top officials said.

Reinfeldt and Barroso said that there are positive elements concerning the two countries' commitments, expressing the hope that these efforts could represent the first steps towards steeper reductions.

"We will continue to urge the U.S., China and all our other partners in this negotiation to go to the outer limits of what is possible in order to find agreement in Copenhagen," they said in the joint statement.

The Chinese government announced on Thursday that China is going to reduce the intensity of carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP in 2020 by 40 percent to 45 percent compared with the level of 2005.

The White House said in a press release on Wednesday that President Barack Obama will attend the Copenhagen conference and "is prepared to put on the table a U.S. emissions reduction target in the range of 17 percent below 2005 levels in 2020." According to experts, this target is about 4 percent emissions cut below 1990 levels.

The European Union has so far committed to cut its emissions by20 percent by 2020 on the basis of 1990.

The Kyoto Protocol, which aimed to pool world efforts to combat global warming, has been ratified by 184 parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) since 1997,but it has not been ratified by the United States.

Under the protocol, developed countries are required to set clear targets for emissions reductions and offer financial support to developing countries to help these countries mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change, while developing countries do not need to present any emission targets.

The Copenhagen conference, to be held on Dec. 7-18, is scheduled to set the mid-term emissions reduction targets for developed countries under Kyoto Protocol, and make substantial arrangements for the implementation of the UNFCCC.

Editor: Du Xiaodan | Source: Xinhua