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EU's Emission Pledge Incompatible with Its Duties, Capacity

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Three days into the Copenhagen climate conference, the European Union said it would pledge a greenhouse gas emission reduction of 20 percent or at most 30 percent.

The EU's exact emission cut will depend on what others would put on the table, it said.

The EU, which has been relentlessly transforming itself into a bloc with a bigger world influence, is neglecting its responsibilities and the abundant resources it has to help curb climate change.

The "common but differentiated responsibilities" is a principle established in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)endorsed by more than 150 countries 1992.

The 1997 Kyoto Protocol has defined greenhouse gas emission cut targets for industrialized nations, while both the convention and its Kyoto Protocol fell short of imposing any emission obligations on developing countries.

This has been due to the fact that "the largest share of historical and current global emissions of greenhouse gases has originated in developed countries, that per capital emissions in developing countries are still relatively low and that the share of global emissions originating in developing countries will grow to meet their social and development needs," according to the UNFCCC.

Both history and reality have made it unconditional for the developed nations to shoulder their duties and come up with an emission cut compatible to capacity.

However, the EU has deliberately neglected calls from the developing nations to have its greenhouse gas emissions reduced by 40 percent on that in 1990.

This formed a sharp contrast to their developing counterparts, which, in spite of the huge challenge of boosting the welfare of their people, have voluntarily promised emission cuts.

Developing nations' emissions are for production and survival, while the developed countries are producing "luxury emissions."

Considering the EU's available funding and advanced technology, the bloc is fully capable of pledging and realizing a deeper cut. It is not a question of "can't" but a question of "won't."

In fact, the first one that raises climate change as a topic for talks is the EU. The oil crisis in the 1970s touched Europe' nerves. To guarantee their energy security, the European countries made large efforts in exploring new energy and energy-saving technology.

So far, the EU has controlled the commanding height of the new energy field. Therefore, it is well positioned in pledging and doing more for its own and the human kind's common future.

(Xinhua News Agency December 11, 2009)