Correction- it’s the EU that’s the climate deadweight

by | Oct 12, 2009


Interesting to compare my post from earlier (“anger at America’s free pass“) with Kevin Grandia’s take. Writing from the Bangkok talks, he points an accusing finger at the EU for its failure to make any meaningful commitment to binding targets:

The only developed country to make a real commitment to a hard cap is Norway, who announced yesterday that will commit to a forty-percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2020. It’s worth pointing out that Norway is not part of the European Union.

I have to admit to being slightly bemused by Kevin’s argument. At Bali, all members of the Kyoto club agreed that, ‘as a group’, they must cut emissions by 25–40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020. The US, of course, was not in the room for the negotiation.

The EU is already committed to reducing its own emissions by 20% in 2020 against 1990 levels, the Kyoto benchmark year. Since well before Bali, it has explicitly stated that it would take on a 30% target if other countries make comparable efforts.

In contrast, the US is attempting to legislate at home on an agreement that would see its emissions return to 1990 levels by 2020, but does not yet seem to be in a position to take on any binding international target.

So that’s a possible 0% from the US vs a hard(ish) 20% from the EU, and a possible 30%. Seems quite a big difference to me. Or perhaps, Kevin, I am missing something?

Author

  • David Steven is a senior fellow at the UN Foundation and at New York University, where he founded the Global Partnership to End Violence against Children and the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, a multi-stakeholder partnership to deliver the SDG targets for preventing all forms of violence, strengthening governance, and promoting justice and inclusion. He was lead author for the ministerial Task Force on Justice for All and senior external adviser for the UN-World Bank flagship study on prevention, Pathways for Peace. He is a former senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and co-author of The Risk Pivot: Great Powers, International Security, and the Energy Revolution (Brookings Institution Press, 2014). In 2001, he helped develop and launch the UK’s network of climate diplomats. David lives in and works from Pisa, Italy.


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