One week until the conflab in Copenhagen, and China and the US have finally put some numbers on the table, but fresh reports of friction from developing nations could put a dampener on the news.

They might not be quite the numbers some were hoping for, but it’s a start. Last week President Obama pledged that the US will cut its emissions ‘in the range of’ 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020 (that’s about 3 per cent below 1990 levels) and 83 per cent by 2050.

Once the US had showed its hand, China followed suit, announcing it would reduce emissions by 40 to 45 per cent per unit of GDP by 2020. That sounds like a hefty cut, but because it’s linked to GDP, China’s emissions will actually go on rising for some time to come as its economy continues to grow. Having said that, the rate the emissions will grow at is significantly lower than it would have been otherwise.

But at least now leaders of both these emission-rich nations will be in attendance at the Copenhagen meeting, even if Obama is just swinging by for one day en route to picking up his Nobel prize.

However, the latest spanner in the Copenhagen works has emerged today as rumours that a draft climate change proposal from Denmark has irritated developing nations.

The proposal apparently calls for all developing economies to peak their greenhouse emissions by 2025, a demand branded ‘totally unacceptable’ by India’s environment minister Jairam Ramesh, according to local news reports.

Ah, the course of true climate politics never did run smooth…

Anna Lewcock

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