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30 Nov 2009: Danes Propose Emissions Goals

Denmark, host of the upcoming climate summit, is proposing that global greenhouse gas emissions be cut by 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, with emissions peaking by 2020, according to Reuters. A draft of the Danish proposal, now being circulated, said that to meet the 2050 target industrialized nations will have to slash emissions by 80 percent in the next 40 years. Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said he hopes that the 192 nations at the climate summit will approve a five- to eight-page “politically binding” agreement that spells out emissions reduction commitments for each nation. U.S. President Obama, who will speak at the conference, has said the U.S. will commit to reducing CO2 emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and by 83 percent by 2050. Developing countries have criticized that goal as too low, especially considering that the U.S. benchmark for reducing emissions is 2005 — rather than 1990 — levels. China has vowed to reduce its “carbon intensity” — emissions per unit of gross domestic product — by 40 to 45 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. But even with such cuts, China’s overall emissions could still double by 2030 given the country’s dizzying economic growth.


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