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Legally-binding climate treaty unlikely before 2011: UN official

[JURIST] Executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) [official website] Yvo de Boer said Wednesday that it is unlikely a new climate change treaty will be concluded until 2011. After the Copenhagen summit (COP15) in December failed to produce [JURIST report] a binding agreement, de Boer expressed hope that the next annual meeting in November in Cancun, Mexico will get negotiations back on track [AP report]. The UNFCCC announced [press release] that 111 countries and the European Union (EU) have expressed support for the non-binding Copenhagen Accord [text, PDF], which calls for self-imposed limits on greenhouse gas emissions [JURIST news archive]. Additionally, the UNFCCC received 75 national pledges, from nations that account for more than 80 percent of global emissions from energy use, to cut or limit emissions of greenhouse gases by 2020. De Boer noted these pledges will not suffice to meet the Copenhagen Accord's goal of limiting global temperatures [UN News Centre report] to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Earlier this month, China and India, among the world's largest and most quickly growing producers of greenhouse gas emissions, agreed to endorse [JURIST report] the Copenhagen Accord. The UNFCCC announced [JURIST report] in February that another round of formal climate talks will be held April 9-11 in Bonn, Germany, to follow up on the recent Copenhagen conference. While no legally-binding agreement was reached at the conclusion of the COP15 in December, 192 UN member countries agreed to take note [UN News Centre report] of the non-binding accord developed by leaders from the US, China, India, Brazil, and South Africa. In January, more than 50 countries, including the US, China, and EU member states, submitted plans [JURIST report] to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the UNFCCC. Relative to 2005 levels, the US has pledged to reduce emissions to 17 percent, while China has targeted a 40 to 45 percent reduction per GDP unit. EU members pledged a 20 percent reduction below 1990 levels.

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