EU: Nations must do more for climate change pact

AP News
Posted: Nov 29, 2009 10:58 AM

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso is urging China and other countries to make more ambitious commitments on curbing heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions.

Barroso welcomed fresh emission pledges by China and plans by both Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and U.S. President Barack Obama to attend next month's U.N. conference on climate change in Copenhagen.

"Everyone is committing," Barroso told reporters after dining Sunday with Wen. "We have to see at the end if all these commitments together lead us to the minimum necessary that according to science we have to do. So far, we are not yet there," he said.

Scientists believe a 2-degree Celsius (3.6-degree Fahrenheit) increase in global temperatures from pre-industrial levels would lead to destructively rising seas and climate shifts that would produce droughts, floods and other severe disruptions.

"We cannot negotiate against the laws of nature, of science," Barroso said.

Barroso said EU nations were analyzing a plan announced days ago by Beijing to slow its carbon emissions and would discuss it with their hosts Monday during a summit meeting in Nanjing, a city west of Shanghai.

China promised Thursday nearly halve the ratio of pollution to GDP over the next decade _ a major move by the world's largest emitter, whose cooperation is crucial to any deal as the global climate summit approaches.

The voluntary pledge came a day after Obama promised the U.S. would lay out plans at Copenhagen to substantially cut its own greenhouse gas emissions.

China's plan does not commit it to an overall reduction in emissions, which will continue to increase, though at a slower rate.

But the announcements by Beijing and Washington add significant weight toward achieving a global agreement, though the Dec. 7-18 conference is unlikely to produce a binding deal as hoped.

Leaders now think delegates at Copenhagen will produce at best an outline for an agreement to be considered late next year instead.

"I see there was some momentum created and I still hope we will come to an agreement at Copenhagen," Barroso said.