Associated Press Writers
STRASBOURG, France—The United States should be ready to spell out its long-term vision for reducing carbon emissions over the next two decades, not just until 2020, the European Union said Tuesday.
With two weeks to go before a global climate conference, the EU urged Washington and Beijing to come to the Copenhagen event with meaningful bids to check their greenhouse gas emissions.
All countries are being asked to report to the summit on what actions they will take over the next decade to reduce carbon emissions or curb their growth.
But Swedish Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren said the United States should go beyond 2020 to show that it is on a steep and continuous pathway of reductions.
"It's important what they will deliver in 2025 or 2030," Carlgren told The Associated Press. "It would play a crucial role if they could deliver such plans."
Carlgren, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, said he was pleased with the report from the White House Monday that the U.S. would deliver an emissions reduction target to the Copenhagen conference. Washington has resisted doing so without the backing of Congress, which is not expected to pass climate legislation until next year at the earliest.
"I welcome it, but still it needs to be sufficiently ambitious," Carlgren said. "An agreement in Copenhagen will stand or fall on sufficiently ambitious targets by the U.S. and China."
Legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives would slash heat-trapping pollution by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. A U.S. Senate bill seeks a 20 percent reduction over the next decade.
The EU has said those targets are too low and do not match the pledge by the 27-nation European block to slash emissions by as much as 30 percent below 1990 levels as part of a global agreement.
Carlsen said by outlining its plans through 2030, the U.S. could show it was on a comparable path with the Europeans.
U.N. scientists have recommended that developed countries make cuts of 25 to 40 percent in C02 emissions by 2020 to avoid a catastrophic rise in sea levels, harsher storms and droughts, and climate disruptions.
At least 65 world leaders will attend the Copenhagen summit Dec. 7-18 as representatives of 192 nations seek to lay out the framework for a new global warming treaty. White officials say Obama is considering attending, but has not yet decided.
Carlgren said he also expected China to strengthen its emissions commitments at Copenhagen, although he acknowledged the Chinese intentions announced so far are high.
China already has set a 15 percent target for renewable energy, a greater energy efficiency target and an expansion of its forest cover by 100 million acres (40 hectares) by 2020.
Carlgren said China can dig deeper to reduce the growth of emissions in its rapidly expanding economy. A 10 percent increase in China's emissions would wipe out two years of efforts by the EU, he said.
Max reported from Amsterdam.