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03 August 2010

Academics warn of failing international carbon targets

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Diplomats gathering in Bonn told that pledged emission targets fall well short of that required to stabilise temperatures

A group of senior academics has today reiterated warnings that the greenhouse gas emission reduction pledges put forward by countries involved in international climate negotiations remain well short of what is required to stand a reasonable chance of meeting the stated goal of limiting temperature rises to less than 2ºC.

Timed to coincide with the opening of the latest round of UN-backed climate change negotiations in Bonn, Climate Strategies, an independent network of international climate academics hosted at the University of Cambridge, today released a new study analysing the likely impact of those emissions targets for 2020 currently pledged by industrialised and developing economies.

The report, entitled Analytic support to target-based negotiations, concludes that the pledged targets announced by countries as part of the Copenhagen Accord are insufficient to drive the robust price in the carbon market needed to peak emissions by 2020.

It warns that unless action is taken soon to deliver more ambitious cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, future generations will have to achieve daunting cuts in emissions if there is to be any hope of stabilising temperature increases at about two degrees above pre-industrial levels.

"There is clearly a discrepancy between agreements made by world leaders for reductions in emissions by 2050 needed for the world to be on a 2ºC path, and the comparatively weak targets pledged for 2020," said Murray Ward, who led the report. "The only way to square these two outcomes is that future generations will have to make very deep reductions on a year-by-year basis after 2020."


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He added that many countries were guilty of ignoring the impact of the global recession on greenhouse gas emissions, and as a result were likely to find it easier than they expected to meet emission targets for 2020. provides its content to all media free of charge. We would appreciate if you could acknowledge as the source of the content.