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Developing Nations Seek Faster Emission Cuts From Rich World at COP27 – WSJ

Negotiators at the summit are still far apart on several fronts, including how to keep the climate targets of the Paris accord within reach

The COP27 U.N. Climate Summit in Egypt this month has seen tensions over how emissions’ cuts should be shared out globally.

Matthew Dalton , Summer Said and Chao Deng, WSJ

SHARM EL SHEIKH, Egypt
EnergiesNet.com 11 18 2022

Developing countries are pushing wealthy ones to accelerate sharply their plans to cut greenhouse-gas emissions over the next decade, a new salvo in negotiations at the COP27 climate summit over which nations should shoulder more of the burden to limit global warming.

A draft text circulated Thursday by Egypt, which is leading the talks, voices “deep regret that developed countries who have the most capabilities financially and technologically to lead in reducing their emissions continue to fall short in doing so.” 

The demand was a sign of the gulf separating developed and developing nations as the summit heads into its final days. Negotiators are still far apart on several fronts, including how to keep the climate targets of the Paris accord within reach and how to provide funds for poorer countries that have suffered sudden or potentially irreparable damage that scientists link to the effects of climate change.   

The text seeking faster emissions cuts from rich countries was drafted by the Like-Minded Developing Countries group, a coalition that includes big developing economies such as China, India and Pakistan, said Diego Pacheco, a Bolivian negotiator who chairs the group.

The text calls for developed countries to cut their emissions quickly enough that they would be net negative emitters of greenhouse gases by 2030. That means their emissions would be low enough that they could be more than offset by their forests and other natural means of absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Cuts of that speed would amount to a dramatic acceleration by the U.S., Europe and other wealthy nations. Most wealthy countries have pledged to become net-zero emitters by 2050.

Developed countries immediately dismissed the proposal.

“It’s always good for developed nations to accelerate,” said Frans Timmermans, the European Union climate envoy. “But let’s stay real. 2030? Come on.”

The dispute reflects longstanding tensions over how emissions cuts should be shared between developed and developing countries. The developed world is responsible for most of the greenhouse-gas emissions that scientists say have caused global warming since the dawn of the industrial era. Developing countries say their rich counterparts have released more than their fair share of emissions into the atmosphere.

China, however, is now the world’s largest producer of greenhouse gases. Its emissions are expected to rise in the coming years as are India’s, the third largest emitter. Emissions in the U.S. and Europe have been trending down for more than a decade.

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Developed nations say big economies in the developing world should begin cutting their emissions sooner. Otherwise, they say, the world stands little chance of hitting the goals of the Paris accord: limiting global warming to well under 2 degrees Celsius and preferably 1.5 degrees.

Leaders from the Group of 20 economies this week reaffirmed their commitment to that climate target, reassuring negotiators from the U.S. and Europe. “We resolve to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C,” the leaders said in a statement after their meeting, calling for “meaningful and effective actions” from all countries to hit the target.

China and India initially pushed to have the reference to the 1.5 degree limit excluded from the G-20’s final statement, according to officials from two Gulf countries. China and India contended the energy crisis made the climate target unrealistic, according to the officials. 

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry spoke at COP27 in Egypt on Wednesday. (Domina Zarzycka/Sopa)

On Saturday, U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry said some countries were hesitant to mention the 1.5 degree target in the negotiating text, without identifying them. “There are very few countries that have raised the issue of not mentioning this word or that word,” he said.

A China delegate said the country helped come up with the language on the 1.5 degree limit in the G-20 statement and wasn’t pushing for leniency on preventing global warming at the climate conference.

The India delegation at COP27 didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Write to Matthew Dalton at Matthew.Dalton@wsj.com, Summer Said at summer.said@wsj.com and Chao Deng at chao.deng@wsj.com

wsj.com 11 17 2022

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