Copenhagen: a climate commitment roundup


The international climate talks have generated major developments among major economies to combat global warming and help aid the most vulnerable countries against the impacts of climate change. Despite the organizational problems that have hampered progress and other stumbling blocks, there has been tremendous progress towards achieving the pollution reduction goals needed to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions. Parties have come to the table with serious proposals for the near and mid-term. The U.S. and countries around the world recognize the opportunities to boost economic growth and create jobs that will arise from cooperation on climate. Here are some of the major announcements that have come out of the international climate change negotiations process.

Before Copenhagen

November 20, 2009. U.S. and China agree to cooperate on clean energy technology. The U.S. and China agreed to partner on clean energy and emissions reductions including a Greenhouse Gas Inventory and a joint clean energy research center.

November 25, 2009. The Obama administration set a provisional target for greenhouse gas pollution reductions. President Obama announced on November 25 a provisional U.S. greenhouse gas pollution reduction target “in the range of” 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. This was the first time the United States proposed its own reduction targets as part of the international negotiation process. This provisional reduction proposal is dependent on congressional approval.

November 25, 2009. U.S. and India join in a clean-energy and climate security partnership. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signed a series of cooperation agreements in the launching of a U.S.-India “Green Partnership” on energy security, climate change and food security.

November 26, 2009. China announces a carbon reduction target. China announced a target of reducing carbon pollution per unit of gross domestic product by 40 to 45 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. This is the first time China has committed to specific carbon reductions.

December 2, 2009. India announces a carbon reduction target. India announced on December 2, soon after the U.S.-India summit in Washington, that it intends to offer a target for decreasing its carbon intensity 24 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. This is the first time India has proposed its own specific carbon reduction target.

During Copenhagen

December 12, 2009. E.U. nations commit $10.5 billion for climate aid. E.U. leaders will provide $10.5 billion over the next three years to a $100 billion fund that will help developing countries adapt to global warming and help move towards a clean energy economy.

December 14, 2009. U.S. announces clean energy technology programs and funding. The Obama administration took another major step towards mitigating global warming pollution. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the launch of the Renewables and Efficiency Deployment Initiative (Climate REDI) as well as ten new clean energy technology road maps under the Global Partnership, which was launched under the Major Economies Forum (MEF) in July in L’Aquila, Italy.

December 16, 2009. Japan announces $15 billion for climate aid to developing countries . Japan announced that it will fund $15 billion through 2012 to assist developing countries in mitigation efforts, contingent on achieving an international agreement.

December 16, 2009. U.S. contributes $1 billion for deforestation efforts. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. will give $1 billion over the next three years to early actions in developing countries that develop REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) projects to build their countries’ capacity to slow and eventually halt deforestation.

December 17, 2009. U.S. pledges to secure $100 billion in annual financing for developing countries. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that the U.S. will commit to funding $100 billion in annual financing by 2020 to help poor countries adapt to climate change. Funding is contingent on commitment by developing nations to transparently reduce emissions.