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Nations Argue Over CO2 Emissions Cuts, Audits

emissions4The measurement, reporting and auditing of greenhouse gas emissions by each country is a key focus of U.N. climate negotiations leading up to climate talks in Copenhagen in December, reports Reuters.

Rich nations are under pressure to cut their emissions 25-40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and spend billions in aid and green technology for poor countries, reports Reuters.

But Pieter Tans of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Boulder, Colo., told Reuters that rich nations aren’t going to spend possibly hundreds of billions of dollars on poorer nations to help green their economies purely on trust.

The problem is that there isn’t a way to independently monitor a country’s greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) from burning fossil fuels or deforestation, according to the article.

Pep Canadell of the Global Carbon Project told Reuters that rich nations such as Australia and the United States have developed reliable reporting methods on energy use and fossil fuel emissions while accuracy for developing countries was not as good.

Although dozens of countries also send greenhouse gas measurement data to the World Meteorological Agency’s World Data Center for Greenhouse Gases, scientists say they are at least a decade or two away from a monitoring system than can accurately determine national and regional emissions from fossil fuels, deforestation and other land use changes, reports Reuters.

A global network will also need to take into account the huge amount of carbon dioxide produced and absorbed naturally via so-called sources and sinks such as trees and oceans, reports Reuters.

More accurate measurement and models could give investors more confidence when putting money into large carbon offset schemes, according to the article.

Some countries are working out their own deals. As an example, Warsaw, Poland, signed an agreement this week to sell its surplus carbon emission permits under the Kyoto Protocol (AAUs) worth 25 million euros ($37.5 million) to Madrid, Spain, reports Reuters.

More deals are expected to follow since Poland had about 500 million tons of CO2 equivalent to sell under the global climate pact, according to the news agency.

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