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UN Climate Negotiations: Denmark and Bolivia Present Their Emissions Reductions

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Bonn, Germany -- On Thursday, specific nations presented their work to reduce emissions. Thursday morning, Canada, the EU, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), Ireland and Switzerland presented their work. On Thursday afternoon, Denmark, Bolivia, the Czech Republic and the United States presented their current work to reduce emissions.

These workshops address a wide range of issues related to economy-wide emissions reductions.

Here's the back-story to these workshops: In Cancún, it was requested and agreed that developed country parties clarify the assumptions and conditions associated with the targets for reducing emissions, including the use of carbon credits for market-based mechanisms and land use land use change and forestry (LULUCF) activities and the options to increase the level of ambition in reducing emissions.

The first of these workshops was held on April 3, 2011 in Bangkok, Thailand.

A document summing up the first workshop's discussions conducted in Bangkok show a whole gamut of issues related to emissions reductions. According to the secretariat's introduction to the workshop's resumption on Thursday in Bonn, many countries note the usefulness of these workshops in moving the negotiations forward.

These discussions, like their predecessors in Thailand, intend to provide an opportunity for parties to have an in-depth technical discussion in an informal setting with a view to obtain and clarify conditions for setting up emissions reductions goals in developed countries.

Denmark

Denmark opened by stating that, to a fair extent, climate policy is energy policy. With this in mind, Denmark has drawn up an Energy Strategy to ensure that it will no longer be reliant on fossil fuels by 2050.

Denmark is on track to meet its climate obligations, both within the Kyoto Protocol and the EU. It is on track to meet its Kyoto Protocol commitment of a 21% reduction in 2008-2012 compared to 1990. For the commitment period of 2013-2020, it will offer a 20% reduction.

Its plan is also in line with the EU "Roadmap for Moving to a Competitive Low-Carbon Economy by 2050," published in March, and outlining how the EU could reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 80 to 95% by 2050 based on 1990 levels. Renewable energy will form a large part of the EU's new low carbon economy.

Denmark said that it will reduce energy use and improve energy efficiency through building codes for buildings constructed after 2017, and increase renewable energy sources, in particular through wind power and biomass.

By 2020, Denmark forecasts that it will draw on renewable energy for 33% of its energy needs.

Bolivia

Bolivia opened its presentation with a discussion of how the Chacaltaya glacier in the Andes Mountains, once a ski run, is melting away as a result of global warming.

Bolivia reminded of the three principle conclusions of its Bangkok's presentations. First, in Cancún, it was agreed that it was vital to keep temperature increases below 2 degrees Celsius, but according to the recent UNEP report, the emissions pledged will not keep us below a 2 degree increase.

Moreover and second, according to the Stockholm Institute Environment, developing countries are making more emissions reductions than developed countries: while developed countries are reducing emissions by 3 gigatonnes by 2020, developing countries are reducing emissions by 3.6 gigatonnes by 2020.

Subtracting the carbon market reductions, the developing countries still reduce emissions by 3.6 gigatonnes, Sólon stated. But subtracting the carbon market reductions, the developed countries only reduce emissions by 1.9 gigatonnes.

Third, Annex I countries have to do more to reach the 2 degree target. Historically, the Annex I countries are responsible for the majority of the emissions. Sólon demanded to know what the plan was to reduce emissions, in order to remain below the 2 degrees Celsius target.

The peaking level must be defined and fulfilled by 2020.

"It cannot be that some countries of Annex I are doing something and others are doing nothing," Sólon said.

"We have to talk about what we are going to do as a community to make the agreement be respected. If we continue to where everyone does what they want, we will continue this decade to where what has been done to the environment cannot be reversed. The result will be a temperature increase of five degrees. The developing countries will be most affected. Our environment will suffer severe impacts. And we will reach the point of no return. We need to talk sincerely and transparently about what we are going to do on the international negotiations."

Tina Gerhardt is an independent journalist who covers climate change, international negotiations and energy policy. Her work has appeared in Alternet, Earth Island Journal, Environment News Service, Grist, In These Times, The Nation and The Progressive. She has also appeared on The Laura Flanders Show, the National Radio Project and WBAI.

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