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Issue #1505      15 June 2011

Industrialised emitters exposed

A new study for Oxfam reveals that developing countries are making more of an effort to cut their greenhouse gas emissions than developed countries. Oxfam estimates that over 60 percent of emissions cuts by 2020 are likely to be made by developing countries.

The analysis, which was completed by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and commissioned as part of Oxfam’s new global GROW campaign, compares four of the most widely respected studies of emissions reductions pledges.

Oxfam Australia Climate Change Advisor Kelly Dent, in Bonn, Germany for the UN Climate Change Conference, said while all countries should do their fair share to tackle climate change, rich industrialised countries are not pulling their weight.

“No longer can Australia and other developed nations use the excuse that we must wait for action from China and India before we move to drastically cut our emissions,” Ms Dent said.

“We now have evidence that China’s total emissions reductions could be nearly double those of the US by 2020. The emissions reductions of developing countries could also be three times greater than those of the EU by 2020.

“Currently Australia is on course to actually increase its emissions by around 24 percent on 1990 levels by 2020.

“Poorer countries are working hard to reduce their pollution – while also suffering the worst impacts of climate change – even though they are not historically responsible for the majority of the world’s emissions,” Ms Dent said.

The SEI study also finds that the emission reductions of China, India, South Africa and Brazil could be slightly greater than the combined efforts of the seven biggest developed countries – the US, Europe, Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Russia – by 2020.

It also shows that the total emissions cuts pledged by all countries are not sufficient to prevent global temperatures rising above the two degrees target agreed by governments in December 2010 at the UN Climate Change talks in Cancun, Mexico.  

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