In the leadup to the Copenhagen climate negotiations (which begin this Monday), many countries have laid out plans of some sort to reduce their greenhouse emissions. Sometimes the incentive for doing so seems to have been an attempt by the country in question to bolster its international image; while in other cases, countries have set ambitious goals for reducing their own emissions in part to encourage other nations to do likewise. As just a couple examples of countries laying out new pollution-reduction goals before Copenhagen, South Korea announced last month that it would cut greenhouse emissions to 30% below what they would have been by the year 2020 under a business-as-usual scenario; this amounts to a reduction of 4% below 2005 emissions levels. Meanwhile, China has announced that it will reduce emissions intensity, or the amount of greenhouse gases emitted per unit of energy used in the country, by 40-45% below 2005 levels by the year 2020. Though many countries’ emissions-reduction goals still probably do not go far enough, the fact that several new nations have announced goals for cutting back on pollution in the last few months is an encouraging sign as we move into the Copenhagen negotiations.
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