Global greenhouse gas emissions are projected to fall 2.6 percent this year, the biggest decline in 40 years, according to new information from the International Energy Agency, reports Reuters.
The information’s release came a day before the Sept. 22 United Nations Climate Summit in New York City, where President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao are expected to deliver key messages about climate change.
Critics worry that the dramatic decline will give nations an excuse for inaction on climate change measures.
Meanwhile, the European Union increasingly is frustrated with the U.S. on climate change, accusing it of moving too slow and unambitiously. The EU also criticizes the U.S. for not committing more funds to help developing nations mitigate climate change, reports the Financial Times.
A European Commission official said that, in contrast to a few months ago when China and India were viewed as laggards, now “the problem appears to lie most clearly with the U.S.”
The comment was prompted by recent indications from the U.S. Senate that cap and trade legislation may be pushed back to 2010. Many nations are unwilling to commit to carbon reduction targets until the U.S. does so.
Indeed, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said there’s not enough time before December’s Copenhagen climate talks to winnow down the differences between countries, reports Bloomberg.
However, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Copenhagen shouldn’t be looked at as an end point that must be defined as success or failure.
“Success or failure will be determined by what happens in the coming years and the coming decades,” Chu said.
While the projected drop in 2009 emissions can be tied to a low econeomy, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that tackling climate change can actually increase the global GDP, in a report from the Climate Group.
The report states that ambitious, coordinated efforts to cut emissions can:
- Create as many as 10 million new jobs in 2020;
- Generate additional economic growth worth as much as the green stimulus packages recently adopted by major governments; and
- Enable a more than 15-fold reduction in carbon price (from $65 per ton of CO2 to $4 per ton of CO2).