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Warning over UN climate targets

Targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 are too weak and may undermine a future international agreement, a network of thinktanks has warned.

The Global Climate Network claims that emissions reduction targets currently being discussed by industrialised countries are "inadequate".

It warns that the gap between the proposals and the scientific estimations of the global cuts needed ? known as the mitigation gap ? could threaten the credibility of the United Nations (UN) process.

In a report published today the newly formed international network of think-tanks and research institutes claims that minister meeting in Poland later this week should focus on how to meet the 2020 shortfall through a range of measure or risk confidence in the international talks "ebbing away".

The network calls on the leading countries to take on a 'dual obligation' to close the so-called mitigation gap, involving supplementing their own emissions reductions by offering low carbon technology and financial support to poorer nations to help slow the growth in their emissions as they develop.

In today's report the authors call for greater global emission cuts and suggest that support for the development of low carbon technology and provision of finance may help.

"The global challenge we face is such that we have to turn our attention quickly to how we can cooperate to ensure that we avoid dangerous climate change while also enabling people in poorer countries to reach a better standard of living," Professor Jiahua Pan, director of the Research Centre for Sustainable Development in China, said.

"This can only be achieved through an agreement that is based on equity."

Dr Rubens Born, director of Vitae Civilis in Brazil, added: "When climate change is being debated, two equally important factors must be considered: a sense of urgency and a sense of responsibility.

"The challenge demands a shared vision that is implemented in an equitable manner with both urgent and responsible actions. A lack of balance between these factors can lead to unwanted and unfair consequences."

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