Developing countries are pledging larger greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions than developed countries, a new study for Oxfam by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) discovered. The study, commissioned as part of Oxfam’s GROW campaign, estimates that over 60 percent of emissions reductions by 2020 are likely to come from developing countries. China is the number one emitter of GHGs, following by the U.S. and India.
An overview of the yet to be released SEI study found that:
- China’s total reductions could be almost double those of the U.S. by 2020
- Emissions reductions of developing countries could be three times more than those of the EU by 2020
- Emissions reductions of China, India, South Africa and Brazil (the BASIC countries) could be slightly more than the combined reductions of the seven largest developed countries (the U.S., Europe, Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Russia) by 2020
- Total emissions cuts pledged by all countries are not enough to prevent global temperatures increasing above the two degrees target agreement to in Cancun.
“All countries need to do their fair share to tackle climate change,” said Tim Gore, Oxfam’s climate change policy advisor. “Yet rich industrialized countries which are most responsible for the climate crisis are not pulling their weight.”
Concentrations of greenhouse gas have increased by huge amounts since the Industrial Revolution. A 2006 study that appeared in the Journal of Land Use states that concentrations of carbon dioxide increased by almost 30 percent, concentrations of methane (a greenhouse gas with a warming potential 23 times greater than carbon) have more than doubled, and nitrous oxide concentrations have increased by 15 percent.
“It’s time for governments from Europe to the US to stand up to the fossil fuel lobbyists. Their competitors in developing countries – from China to India and Brazil – have pledged to do more to rein in emissions and start building prosperous low carbon economies. Europe and the US risk being left behind,” Gore said.
“In the end, cutting emissions isn’t about who does the most, but whether the total efforts are enough to avoid devastating levels of global warming – we will either sink or swim together. The pledges currently on the table mean we are sinking,” Gore added.
The release of the SEI study results come just after Oxfam released a report titled, Growing a Better Future. The report concluded that the food system needs to be transformed. The demand for food will increase by 70 percent by 2050 when the world’s population will be nine billion. Agriculture must adapt to climate change, and reduce its GHG emissions, the report suggests. Agriculture accounts for up to 30 percent of global GHG emissions.