All countries should outline their long-term plans for curbing greenhouse
gases next year, earlier than favoured by Washington, to revive the stalled
fight against climate change, the European Union proposed.
After past failures, almost 200 countries agreed in 2011 to work out by the
end of 2015 a UN pact to slow global warming with curbs taking effect from 2020.
They have still to figure out what each nation will do.
Preparing for a climate meeting of government delegates next week in Bonn,
Germany, the EU said all countries should sketch out national commitments for
limiting rising world greenhouse gases beyond 2020 by the end of 2014.
Deciding on commitments next year should allow time for a review of each
national plan before the 2015 agreement, it said.
New proposal needed
National plans should be easily comparable so that they could be toughened if
needed after a review, the EU said in an official submission to the United
The EU approach is more demanding than a US proposal last month that said
each nation should merely offer a "contribution" to the 2015 deal, perhaps by
mid-2015, to allow a non-binding review lasting a few months.
Washington says that governments are more likely to act if they can define
greenhouse gas programmes themselves, rather than be told what to do by outside
reviewers. EU officials fear that such national policies will undermine
The idea of each government setting its own goals means abandoning the format
of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which set central goals for industrialised countries
to cut emissions by 2012 and then let each work out how to implement them.
Unlike its main industrialised allies, the United States stayed out of Kyoto
and has not set caps on emissions. Economic slowdown has made many governments
reluctant to take strong action to shift from fossil fuels towards renewable
All sides say emissions pledges should achieve a UN goal of limiting a rise
in temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6F) above pre-industrial times,
seen as a threshold for dangerous changes with more floods, droughts and rising
Temperatures have already risen by 0.8 degree C (1.4F) since the Industrial
Revolution. All the 10 warmest years since records began have been since 1998,
even though the rate of warming at the planet's surface has slowed this
"We support the EU's call for countries to come up with commitments as early
as possible," said Samantha Smith, of the WWF conservation group. She said the
US plan was a recipe for a weak deal that failed to keep temperature rises below
China and India say rich countries should lead the way in making deep cuts in
emissions beyond 2020 while giving emerging nations time to burn fossil fuels to
promote economic growth.
The European Commission has suggested a 40% cut in EU greenhouse gas
emissions below 1990 levels and a goal that renewable energy will supply 30% of
all energy needs, both by 2030.