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Climate talks: draft blueprint sees 1.5-2.0 C maximum warming
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  • COPENHAGEN, Dec 11 (AFP) Dec 11, 2009
    The first official draft blueprint for a deal at the UN climate talks sees targets of limiting global warming to 1.5 or 2.0 degrees Celsius (2.7 or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), according to a document seen by AFP on Friday.

    The lower temperature is embraced by small island states and many African nations badly threatened by climate change, while the higher target has been supported by rich nations and emerging giants such as China, India and Brazil.

    The draft is to be submitted to environment ministers from around the world, with the goal of having it endorsed at a summit on December 18.

    "It's really good news that we now have one text that we can all focus on. It's a good step forward," said Kaisa Kosonen of Greenpeace.

    "Now, we have to work on it. There are a lot of choices open. You can negotiate many different outcomes from this text."

    If all goes well, a landmark political agreement in Copenhagen would be followed by meetings in 2010 under the 194-nation UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to flesh out key details.

    The envisioned global pact would take effect from 2013, after current pledges expire under the UNFCCC's Kyoto Protocol.

    The proposed draft is put forward by the Ad-hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action, or AWG-LCA, one of the two negotiating tracks in the 12-day talks in Copenhagen.

    Its task is to spell out a "shared vision" for combatting climate change in the decades to come.

    The text carries many brackets, which denote disagreement.

    On the question of a target for warming, it reads:

    "Parties shall cooperate to avoid dangerous climate change, in keeping with the ultimate objective of the Convention, recognizing [the broad scientific view] that the increase in global average temperature above pre-industrial levels ought not to exceed [2 C] [1.5 C]."

    The draft text leaves open three possible targets for the overall reduction of global carbon emissions by 2020, compared with 1990 levels: by 50 percent, by 80 percent and by 95 percent.

    Industrialised countries favour the 50 percent goal, while major emerging economies led by China have balked at any such target unless it is made clear that rich countries will assume the near totality of the burden.

    For rich countries, which acknowledge their historical responsibility for global warming today, the bracketed options for CO2 cuts by 2050 range from 75-85 percent, "at least 80-95 percent", and "more than 95 percent", all measured against the same 1990 benchmark.

    The text stands by a second, seven-year commitment period of the UNFCCC's Kyoto Protocol, the pact that has been shunned by the United States. Its current provisions run out at the end of 2012.

    US emissions targets -- and non-binding actions by developing countries -- would be included in an "appendix" under the UNFCCC.

    On the key question of funds to help wean poorer countries off high-carbon energy and shore up their defences against climate change, the draft text is vague.

    "Scaled-up, predictable, new and additional, and adequate funding shall be provided," it says, but does not give figures.

    The document allows for so-called "fast-start" financing for three years starting in 2010 to help the world's poorest ones cope with the inevitable impacts of warming.

    But it does not specify any amount.

    Rich countries have found a consensus around a disbursement of 10 billion dollars per year during this period.

    In Brussels, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Friday the European Union was set to give more than six billion euros (nine billion dollars) in total to this initiative over the next three years.

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