Fast Facts on International Targets: Sign of Hope, or Just Hot Air?

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EUROPEAN UNION – EU leaders agreed in 2007 to cut emissions by 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, and by 30 percent if other nations make similar cuts. A Dec. 11-12 EU summit will try to agree details. EU leaders want rich countries to aim to reduce emissions by 60 to 80 percent by 2050 from 1990 levels.

CHINA – A 2006-10 plan aims to reduce energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product by 20 percent, curbing the rise of greenhouse gas emissions. Beijing also plans to quadruple gross domestic product between 2001 and 2020 while only doubling energy use. Beijing said this month it would spend an extra 4 trillion yuan (US$586 billion) to help boost demand, including investments in green sectors.

INDIA – New Delhi says priority must go to economic growth to end poverty while shifting to clean energies led by solar power. A climate plan in June set no greenhouse caps but said per capita emissions will never exceed those of rich nations.

JAPAN – Tokyo plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 60-80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050, implying a cut of about 14 percent by 2020 from 2005. That would put emissions about 4 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

CANADA – The government’s “Turning the Corner” plan seeks to cut emissions by 20 percent below 2006 levels by 2020 and envisages cuts of 60 to 70 percent below 2006 by 2050. Applied to the usual Kyoto 1990 benchmark, a 20 percent cut from 2006 would put emissions 2.7 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

SOUTH KOREA – The government plans next year to set a 2020 target to curb rising emissions.

AUSTRALIA – The centre-left government aims to cut emissions by 60 percent below 2000 levels by 2050. It plans to announce a 2020 target in coming days.

SOUTH AFRICA – The government aims to brake rising emissions and has outlined a scenario with emissions rising until 2020-25, staying flat for up to a decade and then falling. It will set mandatory energy efficiency targets and a shift away from coal.

NORWAY – Aims to cut emissions by 30 percent from 1990 levels by 2020 and to make the nation “carbon neutral”, meaning that any emissions in one sector would be offset elsewhere, by 2030.

COSTA RICA – Aims to cut its net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2021, the 200th anniversary of independence.

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(Compiled by Alister Doyle in Oslo, editing by Tim Pearce)