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Comparability of Annex I Emission Reduction Pledges

Key Findings

Executive Summary

Significant commitments to reduce developed country greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) will be central to the realization of the Copenhagen Accord.

As negotiated in December 2009, the Copenhagen Accord provides a mandate for Annex I Parties that choose to associate themselves with the Accord to register their emission reduction pledges by 31 January 2010. Many pledges have already been put forward by major industrialized countries and economic blocs. These include the European Union (EU), Japan, Canada, and Australia, and the US.

In this analysis, we assess Annex I pledges under the Copenhagen Accord, as well as pledges by Parties that have yet to associate themselves with the Accord (namely Belarus and Ukraine). We do so with the expectation that these countries will associate themselves with the Accord in the near future.

This Working Paper presents a comparative analysis of these pledges, which was performed with two key aims:

  • To enable negotiators from all countries to compare the emission reduction outcomes that would result from industrialized countries’ pledges; and

  • To facilitate efforts to aggregate emission reduction pledges in order to calculate the global impact on the atmosphere.

The absence of details regarding some countries’ mechanisms to achieve emission reductions present hurdles to measuring comparability. Countries will need to clarify how they plan to fulfill their pledges, especially with regard to the use of international offsets and inclusion of land use, land use change, forestry (LULUCF) emissions and reductions, if aggregate effort and comparability are to be effectively measured.

Nevertheless, this analysis provides a preliminary picture of where the world is post Copenhagen. Our key conclusions and recommendations are listed below. Most importantly, we found that while developed country emission reduction pledges could have an important and potentially substantial impact, they will not be enough to meet even the lower range of emission reductions required for stabilizing concentrations of CO2e at 450 ppm and certainly fall very short of goals to reduce concentrations below that level.

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