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U.N. document shows emission cuts at Copenhagen summit fall short

U.N. Paper: emission pledges fall short

Carbon emission cuts pledged at U.N. climate talks would put the world on "an unsustainable pathway" toward average global warming 50 percent higher than industrial countries want, a confidential U.N. draft document showed Thursday.

The document predicts that the average global temperature would rise in coming decades by 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit, compared with preindustrial levels. The world has already warmed a bit, so that would mean an additional 4.1 degrees Fahrenheit warming from the present day.

Scientists say such rises in average temperatures could lead to catastrophic sea-level rises, which would threaten islands and coastal cities, kill off many species of animals and plants, and alter the agricultural economies of many countries.

U.N. climate officials' internal tally shows the world must cut emissions by 10.5 billion tons a year by 2020. About 38 billion tons a year of greenhouse gases are being pumped into the atmosphere, and that is projected to grow to about 54 billion tons by 2020. The U.N. draft says that must be kept to 44 billion tons to limit climate change to below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

"All the pledges to date do not add up to what the science requires," said Robert Orr, a U.N. assistant secretary-general for policy, confirming the document's preliminary figures.

Associated Press

U.N. document shows emission cuts at Copenhagen summit fall short 12/17/09 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 4:51pm]
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