Emission pledges fall short of climate target: UN

Emissions cuts pledged by countries in a nonbinding climate accord last year fall short.

Last Updated: Nov 24, 2010, 09:32 AM IST

Helsinki: Emissions cuts pledged by countries in a nonbinding climate accord last year fall short of what`s needed to avoid the worst consequences of global warming, the UN`s environment agency said today.
The sobering report by the UN Environmental Programme comes as climate negotiators prepare for another round of talks next week in Cancun, Mexico.

Even if the voluntary pledges made last year in the so-called Copenhagen Accord are fully met, that will only achieve 60 per cent of the emissions cuts required to keep temperatures from rising less than 2 degrees C (3.6 F) above preindustrial levels and head off the worst effects of global warming, the UNEP said.

However, UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner called those pledges "a good first step," and that the gap can be reduced further with steeper emissions cuts.

"There is a gap between the science and current ambition levels," Steiner said in a statement. "But, what this report shows is that the options on the table right now in the negotiations can get us almost 60 per cent of the way there."

The failure of the annual UN conference to produce a climate agreement last year in Copenhagen, Denmark, has raised doubts about whether the long-running, 194-nation talks can ever agree on a legally binding treaty for reining in global warming.

PTI