Copenhagen Roundup Dec. 11, 2009

Updated 1:51 pm: U.N. Draft Emissions (see below) Proposal a Nonstarter for US Climate Negotiators NYTimes

Review of current working drafts via Bloomberg News:

Cuts in Greenhouse-Gas Emissions

- US, Japan & Britain must reduce by 25 percent by 2020. Current proposals promise 10-17 percent drop.

- No plan for how to finance poorer countries’ efforts, which is a key objective of the negotiations

The 27-nation European Union has pledged a 20 percent reduction and will increase to 30 percent, with cooperation from other countries. Japan also says it’ll cut by 25 percent if Copenhagen produces an agreement.

The U.S., the biggest historical emitter, says it’ll cut by about 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. The EUC estimates the US offer as a 3 percent reduction from 1990 levels.

Three Drafts

Envoys for the 192 negotiating nations still have two possible temperature targets to limit global warming, three potential global emissions goals for 2050, and three developed- country targets for 2020, as outlined in the blueprint. via Bloomberg News

On the subject of temperature goals, the rise is no more than either 1.5 degrees Celsius or 2 degrees (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times.

The EU, U.S. and China have all endorsed a 2-degree target. An alliance of 43 small island and low-lying nations has described such a target as “suicide” for them, and is calling for warming to be kept below 1.5 degrees. via Bloomberg News

The U.S. group draft says industrialized countries as a group must reduce their combined gas discharges by 75 percent to more than 95 percent during the 60-year period from 1990 to 2050.

US Business Response

via Anne of CarversvilleMuch of the climate-skeptic talk focuses on the actions of the US Chamber of Commerce, which is adamantly opposed to a climate change deal. As previously reported, several big companies have quit the Chamber over their views on climate change.

We circle back to corporate America on this topic.

Businesses in US Brace for New Rules on Emissions NYTimes

Major corporations like General Electric, the Ford Motor Company and PepsiCo, have teamed up with environmental groups to set up the United States Climate Action Partnership, a wide-ranging coalition trying to find ways to cut emissions throughout the economy.

This link to USCA lists major business members and contains several strategy documents.

Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer also embraces climate change, both for itself and suppliers. Read more about Wal-Mart Green. ative that ‘s reduced the size of packaging by up to 50 percent. The company’s eventual goal is no packaging waste.

Senators Blueprints Released

Senators John Kerry,Democrat of Massachusetts, Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, center, and Joseph I. Lieberman, Independent of Connecticut, sent President Obama a letter on Thursday outlining their plan on climate change. The senators believe they have the 60 votes to deliver their proposal.via NYTimes

The Kerry-Graham-Lieberman proposal sets a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target “in the range of” 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, which is the House-passed target and also that of the US negotiating team in Copenhagen.

Cantwell and Collins Senate Proposal

Separately, a pair of moderate senators, Maria Cantwell, Democrat of Washington, and Susan Collins, Republican of Maine have unveiled a competing proposal that embraces the same objective, but rejects “cap-and-trade” legislation.

The two women senators say they’re haunted by the nightmare of last year’s financial markets collapse. They fear a cap-and-trade system would create a new commodity market ripe for speculation that could cause volatile price spikes that would harm consumers and the economy. via CQ Politics

Under the Cantwell-Collins plan, 75 percent of the revenue raised by selling emissions permits would go straight back to U.S. taxpayers in the form of monthly electronic payments made directly to their bank accounts. Cantwell’s office is expected to release a report today, advising US taxpayers that a typical family of four would receive tax-free monthly checks from the government averaging $1,100 per year, or $21,000 between 2012 and 2030.

The remaining 25 percent would be spent on projects such as clean energy technology research and development. The Cantwell-Colling plan is said to have the support of Senate moderates. On the face of it, American taxpayers benefit and Wall Street and banks lose the ability to bundle climate change as they did mortages in recent years.

The NYTimes says that Cantwell-Collins believe they can draw more support from Republicans, whose constituents currently consider banks and Wall Street very dirty words. I’m sure that many Democratic voters agree. Anne