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Countries Begin Announcing Emissions Goals Ahead of Copenhagen Summit

In swift succession, almost all industrialized nations have announced national plans to cut heat-trapping emissions in the coming years, the New York Times reported today. Notable exceptions to the announcements were China and the United States, two countries whose leaders met privately last week, and reportedly discussed climate change, among other issues.

China is a developing country and would not be required to set an emissions goal under the current treaty proposal. The US is the only industrialized nation that has failed to set an emissions goal. South Korea announced a 30% cut by 2020, Russia increased its commitment to 25% by the same year, and Brazil committed to a 40% reduction, also by 2020.

However, as the New York Times pointed out, “The recent announcements are a mix of aspirations, good intentions and negotiating tactics. In most cases there is no certainty that the targets are politically or scientifically plausible. Still, they are a rough harbinger of the potential shape of future agreements and conflicts.”

Global climate change is intimately linked to national and international security issues. Climate change stands to affect the availability of natural resources and energy production, and any emissions limitations will affect the economic growth of developing nations. The potential for transnational conflicts and regional imbalances fueled by the effects of climate change or global efforts to limit that change is immense.


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