Oil nations block switch to 1.5°C climate goal

Published: 11 June 2010

Two weeks of climate talks in Bonn saw developing countries launch a new push to agree on stricter targets for halting global warming, only for the deal to be killed by Saudi Arabia. The blow came as new data showed that loopholes in pledges would allow rich countries to increase their emissions. EurActiv reports from Bonn.

The non-binding Copenhagen Accord, agreed at the end of the UN climate conference in the Danish capital last year, set a goal of limiting global warming to 2°C, beyond which damage to the Earth would be catastrophic, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a UN scientific body.

However, support for a 1.5°C target was on the rise in Bonn, where developing countries demanded a scientific review as the basis of increased climate ambition.

UN climate talks usually rely on periodical assessment reports from the IPCC. But the latest report dates back to 2007 and the next will not be out until 2014.

In Bonn, a group of developing countries therefore asked the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to compile an assessment of the latest science to expose any potential gaps that need further evaluation.

However, the attempt to go ahead with the review was blocked by Saudi Arabia, with the support of fellow OPEC nations. Among their reasons for opposing the review were claims that there is not enough peer-reviewed literature out there for the process to uncover scientific gaps. After two days of heated debate, the discussion was eventually referred to the Cancún climate conference in December.

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