Developing countries pledge bigger climate emissions cuts than world’s richest nations: Oxfam

Media Releases article written on the 07 Jun 2011

A new study for Oxfam reveals that developing countries are making more of an effort to cut their greenhouse gas emissions than developed countries. Oxfam estimates that over 60 per cent of emissions cuts by 2020 are likely to be made by developing countries.

The analysis, which was completed by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and commissioned as part of Oxfam’s new global GROW campaign, compares four of the most widely respected studies of emissions reductions pledges.

Oxfam Australia Climate Change Advisor Kelly Dent, in Bonn, Germany for the UN Climate Change Conference, said while all countries should do their fair share to tackle climate change, rich industrialised countries are not pulling their weight.

“No longer can Australia and other developed nations use the excuse that we must wait for action from China and India before we move to drastically cut our emissions,” Ms Dent said.

“We now have evidence that China’s total emissions reductions could be nearly double those of the US by 2020. The emissions reductions of developing countries could also be three times greater than those of the EU by 2020.

“Currently Australia is on course to actually increase its emissions by around 24 per cent on 1990 levels by 2020.

“Poorer countries are working hard to reduce their pollution – while also suffering the worst impacts of climate change – even though they are not historically responsible for the majority of the world’s emissions,” Ms Dent said.

The new analysis of efforts on emissions cuts comes days after Oxfam published a report for its new GROW campaign, which forecasts that average prices of staple foods, such as maize, will increase by between 120 and 180 per cent by 2030. Up to half of this increase will be driven by climate change.

The SEI study also finds that the emission reductions of China, India, South Africa and Brazil could be slightly greater than the combined efforts of the seven biggest developed countries – the US, Europe, Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Russia – by 2020.

It also shows that the total emissions cuts pledged by all countries are not sufficient to prevent global temperatures rising above the two degrees target agreed by governments in December 2010 at the UN Climate Change talks in Cancun, Mexico.

Kelly Dent is at the UN Climate talks in Bonn, Germany and is available for interview. For further information please contact Oxfam Australia Media Coordinator Sunita Bose on 0407 555 960.

Notes to editors:
Oxfam Commissioned the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) to use four of the most well-respected sources of information about the emissions pledges made since Copenhagen to represent the variety of mitigation pledges made by developed and developing countries in terms of their emissions reductions in 2020 below what would have been the case without the policies (a “business-as-usual” baseline).

The four sources are: the UNEP Emissions Gap Report (UNEP, 2010); Frank Jotzo (co-author of the Garnaut Report) (Jotzo, 2010); the McKinsey Climate Desk with additional analysis by SEI (McKinsey, 2011); and Climate Action Tracker (Climate Action Tracker, 2010; 2011). The study will be the basis for a forthcoming SEI overview of the major recent analyses of the pledges.