BONN, Germany — Diplomats from nearly 200 countries convened in Bonn on March 10, 2014 to expedite talks in reaching a global climate deal.
After nearly two decades of failure by the international community to reach an agreement, the talks were meant to initiate a process of negotiations that would lead up to a finalized deal made in Paris in 2015. Thereafter, the agreement would then be established as a treaty in 2020.
The talks included setting deadlines for greenhouse gas reduction, utilizing clean energy and carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies and establishing which countries ought to face the greatest burdens for reducing emissions. The United States delegation was stated to be leading the charge for CCS technologies to be included under the clean energy, but has faced opposition from other developing and European Union nations.
Among other roots of political tension, the most pressing was the debate over which nations would bear the greatest responsibility for curbing climate change. The U.S. delegation asserted that there should be no differing burdens between developed and developing countries to reduce emissions—while China declared that developed nations ought to take the lead on reducing emissions cuts.
The United States and China have long been the top greenhouse gas emitting nations in the world. Together, they account for about 40% of the entire world’s emissions.
The EU’s target reduction is to cut emissions by 20% by 2020 and 40% by 2030. And the U.S. plans to reduce emissions by 17% by 2020. However, China demanded that developed countries ought to strive to cut emissions by 40% by 2020 instead.
Cooperation between the U.S. and China in reaching an emission reduction deal is highly imperative to taking meaningful steps to curb climate change before the effects become too disastrous. However, the EU also plays a controversial role in emission reduction.
While most of the EU member states, such as Britain, agree to establish ambitious reduction goals to allow for the global temperature increase to be limited to two degrees Celsius, some EU nations such as Poland disagree wholeheartedly. The EU is responsible for just over 10% of greenhouse gas reductions, which dwarfs high-emitting nations such as the U.S., China and Brazil.
Considering how early the talks are in reaching a global climate deal, differences in regards to emissions reduction targets are expected to continue. Nevertheless, a binding international treaty will be necessary to address the 21st century plight of climate change.
Sources: Bloomberg, Business Green, Reuters 1 , Reuters 2