UN highlights gaps at Copenhagen climate change summit

Ongoing uncertainty over global carbon emission reduction targets and funding commitments at the Copenhagen climate change summit, reports Envido.

Online PR News – 16-December-2009 – – The Copenhagen climate change summit displayed yet another sign of a lack of progress today as the UN released two official draft agreements featuring large gaps that are yet to be filled.

The outline of the UN draft climate change agreements that will be presented to world leaders at the end of the week is formed by the seven-page text from the Long Term Cooperative Action (LCA) working group, and the 27-page document from the Kyoto Protocol working group. The UN highlighted that both texts remain littered with square brackets that contain a range of different options for negotiators.

The release of the draft texts comes as the EU Environment Commissioner backed concerns raised yesterday by green groups that loopholes within the draft climate change agreement could negate the carbon savings promised in any deal.

Yvo de Boer, the UN's top climate change official, said that diplomats needed to increase the pace of negotiations, and warned that there was still an "enormous amount of work" to be done before a global carbon reduction deal could be finalised.

Meanwhile, chief US climate change negotiator Todd Stern continued to resist calls from developing nations to increase the US commitment to cut carbon emissions by 17 per cent on 2005 levels by 2020.

Further concern for climate change negotiators at Copenhagen

Fears are mounting that Russia, Ukraine and other Eastern European countries will secure the large number of carbon rights issued under the Kyoto Protocol, which are known colloquially as "hot air" carbon credits. They have been left with millions of so-called Assigned Amount Units (AAU) that were never used because of the collapse of their heavy industrial base in the 1990s.

Green groups argue that the retention of “hot air” carbon credits would undermine the credibility of any Copenhagen climate change deal by allowing the former Soviet Bloc countries to sell them to those nations that fail to meet post-2012 carbon emission targets agreed as part of any deal.

Greenpeace warned that the surplus “hot air” carbon credits to about a third of all the carbon emission reduction commitments currently discussed from developed nations, suggesting that the integrity of any climate change deal could be fatally undermined by the failure to retire the excess “hot air” carbon credits.