Industrialised nations excluding the United States are planning cuts in greenhouse gas emissions of between 15 and 21 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 under a new U.N. climate pact, official data showed on Tuesday.
The numbers, issued to delegates at Aug. 10-14 U.N. climate talks in Bonn, fall short of cuts of between 25 and 40 percent outlined by a U.N. panel of scientists to avert the worst of global warming such as heatwaves, floods and rising sea levels.
"Emissions ... are expected to be between 15 and 21 percent below 1990 levels by 2020," the U.N. Climate Secretariat said of the figures, compiled from widely differing plans by nations including Russia, Japan, Canada and European Union members.
Overall emissions by the 39 industrialised nations, based on the existing plans, would fall to the equivalent of between 10.71 and 9.86 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2020 from 12.53 billion tonnes in 1990.
The data excludes the United States, the top greenhouse gas emitter after China, which is outside the current Kyoto Protocol obliging all other industrialised nations to cut emissions by an average of at least 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12.
The 2020 numbers include a promise by New Zealand on Monday to cut emissions by 10-20 percent. Environmentalists criticised that goal for hinging on conditions such as agreement at U.N. talks in Copenhagen in December on a strong new climate deal.
The EU, Switzerland, Norway and Liechtenstein are offering the deepest cuts -- some with strings attached -- according to the plans. Canada, Japan, Belarus and Russia are among those planning smaller reductions.
Inclusion of the United States would reduce the overall ambition since President Barack Obama aims to return U.S. emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, a cut of about 14 percent from current levels after a sharp rise since 1990.