Where countries stand on Copenhagen

The Copenhagen conference intended to agree a new international framework for controlling greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has begun. The final round of preparatory talks in Barcelona revealed deep divisions between some of the key participants. Use this table to study their positions.

Country What's on the table Climate facts (2007) Public opinion
China
China image
"Developed countries should support developing countries in tackling climate change." President Hu Jintao, 22/9/09
  • Set a "binding goal" to cut CO2 per unit of GDP by 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2020
  • Wants rich countries to reduce emissions to 40% below 1990 level by 2020
  • Says they should pay 1% of their GDP per year to help other countries adapt
  • Wants West to provide low-carbon technology
  • The world's biggest GHG producer (20.7% of global emissions, 8,106mt of CO2 equivalent)
  • Emissions per head: 30th in the world (6t of CO2 equivalent)
  • GDP (2008): $4.3tn
  • Amount of GHG emitted per $1m of GDP: 1,152t
  • Kyoto: Signed as a developing country so not obliged to cut emissions
How serious a threat is global warming to you and your family?

Very/Somewhat serious
33% positive

Not very/Not at all serious
62% negative
United States
US image
"This is not fiction, this is science. Unchecked, climate change will pose unacceptable risks to our security, our economies, and our planet."
Barack Obama, US president, 18/12/09
  • Prepared to work "with other countries" to raise $100bn a year by 2020
  • Will cut emissions to 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 pending congressional approval - this is close to 4% below 1990 levels
  • Against Kyoto-style treaty imposing international legal obligations
  • Insists China, India, South Africa and Brazil must commit to slow growth of emissions
  • Climate bill is currently bogged down in Senate
  • The world's second-biggest GHG producer (15.5% of global emissions, 6,087mt of CO2 equivalent)
  • Emissions per head: Fifth in the world (20t of CO2 equivalent)
  • GDP (2008): $14.2tn
  • Amount of GHG emitted per $1m of GDP: 441t
  • Kyoto: Signed, but never ratified
How serious a threat is global warming to you and your family?

Very/Somewhat serious
64% positive

Not very/Not at all serious
36% negative
EU
EU image
"Things are fragile but I believe that common sense will prevail. We have to focus on the substance and we have to take political decisions."
Stavros Dimas, EU environment commissioner, 18/12/09
The EU is a grouping of 27 European states
  • Will cut emissions by 20% from 1990 levels by 2020, or 30% if other big emitters take tough action
  • Wants rich nations to make 80-95% cut by 2050
  • Wants poorer nations to slow emissions growth
  • Says they face costs of $150bn per year by 2020, of which EU will pay $7bn-22bn from public finances
  • The world's third-biggest GHG producer (11.8% of global emissions, 4,641mt CO2 equivalent)
  • Emissions per head: 17th in the world (9t of CO2 equivalent)
  • GDP (2008): $18.3tn
  • Amount of GHG emitted per $1m of GDP: 315t
  • Kyoto: Signed - has to get average emissions for 2008-2012 8% below 1990 level
How serious a threat is global warming to you and your family?

Very/Somewhat serious
62% positive

Not very/Not at all serious
32% negative

(Results represent the median of 23 out of the 27 EU states polled by Gallup)
Japan
Japan image
"Japan will, with this assistance, support a broad range of developing countries which are taking measures of mitigation, as well as those which are vulnerable."
Japan delegation, 16/12/09
  • Will cut emissions to 25% below 1990 levels by 2020, if other countries show similar ambition
  • This amounts to a cut of 30% in 10 years, and is opposed by industry
  • "Hatoyama initiative" will increase financial and technical assistance to developing countries
  • Backs proposals in which each country would set its own commitments
  • The world's seventh-biggest GHG producer (3.3% of global emissions, 1,293mt of CO2 equivalent)
  • Emissions per head: 15th in the world (10t of CO2 equivalent)
  • GDP (2008): $4.9tn
  • Amount of GHG emitted per $1m of GDP: 301t
  • Kyoto: Signed - has to get average emissions for 2008-2012 6% below 1990 level
How serious a threat is global warming to you and your family?

Very/Somewhat serious
75% serious

Not very/Not at all serious
25% not serious

The nations and organisations below are also part of the G77 group of developing nations

India
India image
"The most vulnerable country in the world to climate change is India." Jairam Ramesh, India's environment minister, 3/12/09
  • Will cut CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 20-25% from 2005 levels by 2020
  • Rejects legally binding target, but wants rich countries legally bound
  • Says rich countries are to blame for climate change and points to big gap in per capita emissions
  • Wants 40% cut in rich country emissions by 2020
  • Opposes goal of halving world emissions by 2050
  • The world's sixth-biggest GHG producer (5% of global emissions, 1,963mt of CO2 equivalent)
  • Emissions per head: 66th in the world (2t of CO2 equivalent)
  • GDP (2008): $1.2tn
  • Amount of GHG emitted per $1m of GDP: 655t
  • Kyoto: Signed as a developing country, so not obliged to cut emissions
How serious a threat is global warming to you and your family?

Very/Somewhat serious
81% serious

Not very/Not at all serious
13% not serious
African union
African union image
"My proposal scales back our expectation with respect to the level of funding in return for more reliable funding." Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, 16/12/09

The African Union is a grouping of 52 African states
  • Wants climate funds to reach $100bn a year by 2020 for rich countries to help poorer nations
  • Wants at least 50% for vulnerable and poor regions such as African and small island states
  • Like China, wants rich countries legally bound to cut emissions to 40% below 1990 level by 2020
  • Describes 20 to 30% cuts as "unacceptable"
  • The AU accounts for 8.1% of global emissions (3,164mt of CO2 equivalent)
  • Emissions per head: 4t of CO2 equivalent
  • GDP (2008): $34bn
  • Amount of GHG emitted per $1m of GDP: 1,361t
  • Kyoto: African nations signed as developing countries so are not obliged to cut emissions
How serious a threat is global warming to you and your family?

Sample state, Kenya:

Very/Somewhat serious
87% serious

Not very/Not at all serious
12% not serious
Gulf states
Gulf states image
"We are among the most economically vulnerable countries." Mohammad S. Al Sabban, Saudi Arabia's lead negotiator 8/10/09

Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE
  • Opec and Saudi Arabia seeking financial aid for oil-producers if new agreement requires cuts of fossil fuels
  • Keen on a deal that would advance use of carbon capture and storage
  • In 2007 Opec members pledged $750m to fund climate change research
  • Qatar and Abu Dhabi investing heavily in clean energy technology
  • Gulf states account for 2.3% of global emissions (894mt of CO2 equivalent)
  • Emissions per head: 25t of CO2 equivalent
  • GDP (2008): $468bn
  • Amount of GHG emitted per $1m of GDP: 875t
  • Kyoto: Gulf States signed as developing countries so are not obliged to cut emissions

How serious a threat is global warming to you and your family?

Sample state, Saudi Arabia:

Very/Somewhat serious
82% serious

Not very/Not at all serious
16% not serious
Small islands
Small islands image
"The days of little money in the face of big problems are over." Dessima Williams, head of the Alliance of Small Island States (Aosis), 9/10/09

Aosis is a bloc of 42 island and coastal states mostly in the Pacific and Caribbean
  • Regard rising sea level as threat to their existence
  • Seek to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees above preindustrial levels
  • Want concentration of CO2 in atmosphere lowered from 380 to 350 parts per million
  • Want global emissions to peak by 2015 and fall 85% below 1990 level by 2050
  • Want at least 1% of rich country GDP spent on "climate-inflicted damage"
  • The small island states account for 0.6% of global GHG emissions (246mt of CO2 equivalent)
  • Emissions per head: 4t of CO2 equivalent
  • GDP (2008): $46bn
  • Amount of GHG emitted per $1m of GDP: 551t
  • Kyoto: Aosis members signed as developing countries so are not obliged to cut emissions

How serious a threat is global warming to you and your family?

Sample state, Dominican Republic:

Very/Somewhat serious
91% serious

Not very/Not at all serious
8% not serious

SOURCES: Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the World Bank. Gallup poll data taken in 2008. Between 528 and 2,493 people interviewed in each country, either by phone or face-to-face (the question was put to people who said they knew something about climate change). The margin of error ranges from +/-3.5 to +/-5.3%.





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