Comparing the Copenhagen emissions targets
Following the Copenhagen climate Accord, developed and developing countries have pledged to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, emissions intensity or emissions relative to baseline. This analysis puts the targets for the major countries on a common footing, and compares them across different metrics. Targeted changes in absolute emissions differ markedly between countries, with continued strong increases in some developing countries but significant decreases in others including Indonesia, Brazil and South Africa, provided reasonable baseline projections are used. Differences are smaller when emissions are expressed in per capita terms. Reductions in emissions intensity of economies implicit in the targets are remarkably similar across developed and developing countries, with China's emissions intensity target spanning almost the same range as the implicit intensity reductions in the United States, EU, Japan, Australia and Canada. Targeted deviations from business-as-usual are also remarkably similar across countries, and the majority of total global reductions relative to baselines may originate from China and other developing countries. The findings suggest that targets for most major countries are broadly compatible in important metrics, and that while the overall global ambition falls short of a two degree trajectory, the targets by key developing countries including China can be considered commensurate in the context of what developed countries have pledged.
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