Exploring comparable post-2012 reduction efforts for Annex I countries

03-02-2009 | Publication

This study analyses the possible approaches to greenhouse gas abatement by industrialised (Annex I) countries, to calculate their comparability. The reduction targets for Annex I countries and the abatement costs of achieving these different aggregated reduction targets show a wide range. To meet the EU climate target of 2°C, a 30% emission reduction by the EU is needed, combined with comparable reduction efforts by other Annex I countries and a 15 to 30% below-baseline emission reduction by developing countries.

High emission reductions are necessary for Annex I countries to meet the EU climate target

EU Heads of State and Government agreed in March 2007 that the EU will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 30% below 1990 levels by 2020 provided that, as part of a global and comprehensive post-2012 agreement, other developed countries commit to comparable reductions. This commitment is provided that other developed countries commit to comparable reductions. Within this context, this study performed within the framework of the Netherlands Research Programme on Scientific Assessment and Policy Analysis for Climate Change (WAB), first explores the pros and cons of possible conceptual approaches to assess the comparability of the greenhouse gas mitigation efforts by Annex I countries. Six approaches were selected for quantification based on the criteria of representation of efforts and technical feasibility, such as equal costs in terms of percentage of gross domestic product and equal marginal abatement costs. The implications of each of these six approaches were analysed in terms of the future reductions and abatement costs that must be made by different Annex I countries to meet the aggregate GHG Annex I reduction targets of 20%, 30% and 40%, respectively, below 1990 levels.

The results of the analyses indicate that - under all approaches - significant reductions are necessary for all Annex I countries to meet their reduction targets. The highest reductions, calculated for 2020 and compared to the 1990 emission levels, will be achieved in the Russian Federation and Ukraine, because their emissions have declined since 1990. The next highest reductions will be achieved in the EU, followed by Canada. Behind Canada, to a lesser extent, are Japan and the USA, for the latter of which emissions have significantly increased since 1990. This study shows that reductions by the EU of at least 30%, combined with comparable reduction efforts by other Annex I countries and concrete support of developed countries for developing countries to keep their emissions substantially (about 15-30%) below baseline, are sufficient to secure the climate goal, that is, limiting the global temperature increase to 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels