China and India Agree| to Copenhagen Accord | Courthouse News Service
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China and India Agree| to Copenhagen Accord

WASHINGTON (CN) - China and India joined the rest of the world's major economies Tuesday in signing on to the Copenhagen climate agreement, which seeks to limit global temperature increases to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels.

Although the Copenhagen accord is non-binding, the addition of two rapidly growing countries is a step toward international agreement to control man-made effects on the earth's climate.

The non-binding agreement was reached last December to conclude an intense 10-day United Nations conference and more than 100 nations have joined.

Before they announced their agreement, China and India followed the accord in submitting plans to cut or limit carbon emissions.

Eighty percent of the accord members have now submitted their proposals to cut emissions.

The agreement does not call for international auditors, meaning the international community will have to take emissions estimations from countries at face value.

During the December conference, Obama said that an agreement without international auditors "would be empty words on a page."

Nonetheless, China said it will try to reduce per-person emissions by 40 to 45 percent of 2005 levels by 2020.

India likewise said it would work to reduce per-person emissions by 20 to 25 percent of 2005 levels by 2020, although it excluded its agricultural sector.

The United States has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by an overall 17 percent of 2005 levels by 2020, assuming Congress enacts the stalled climate legislation before it.

"After careful consideration, India has agreed to such a listing," India's environment minister, Jairam Ramesh was quoted by Reuters as telling Parliament on Tuesday. "We believe that our decision to be listed reflects the role India played in giving shape to the Copenhagen accord. This will strengthen our negotiating position on climate change."

China's chief climate change negotiator, Su Wei, submitted a single-sentence letter telling the United Nations to "proceed to include China in the list of parties" signed up under the accord, the New York Times reported.

The agreement calls for spending up to $100 billion a year to help developing nations adapt to climate change and develop low-carbon energy sources, and steps to protect tropical forests.

Industrialized nations have made individual pledges.

The United States has said it will join an international effort to pay $10 billion to developing nations by 2012, and $100 billion by 2020.

Industrialized nations also pledged $350 million in aid - including $85 million in U.S. aid -- to be distributed over five years, in addition to a separate $3 billion pledge by European nations.

The United States, Japan, Australia, France, Norway and Britain have also pledged $3.5 billion to protect rain forests, $1 billion of which will come from the United States.

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