- The Kyoto Protocol excluded developing countries of the world from its terms, yet by the time of the Copenhagen Conference, the principal developing countries,
and China , had become major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. India overtook the China in total amount of emissions around 2009. U. S.
, historically the greatest contributor to global emissions of greenhouse gases, failed to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, so was never bound by its constraints. The U. S. Senate refused to do so in view of the exclusion from the Protocol of developing countries, and because it was felt that ratification would limit job creation and economic growth within the U. S. United States ’s position was that terms of any new accord be based on carbon intensity, i.e., the amount of greenhouse gas emitted per unit of economic activity (e.g., gross domestic product), rather than the absolute amount of emissions. As measured in this way, China ’s greenhouse gas intensity was trending lower year-by-year, though still higher than the China or U. S. . The Chinese feel they should not be bound by limits to be placed on absolute amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, and should not be restricted from seeking to achieve a higher standard of living. India
- In general, developing countries object to being placed under future restrictions because of the past history of greenhouse gas emissions from the industrialized countries of the West.
- Poor nations are insisting that they be granted financial help in developing power sources that would comply with any agreement put in place. They also foresee unbearable expenditures that might be needed in the future to adapt to adverse effects of climate change within their boundaries, such as floods or drought, or a rising sea level. Their poverty level otherwise would preclude them from ever developing to a living standard prevalent elsewhere in the world.
- Recognizing that climate scientists believe the overall increase in average global temperature above the level of the pre-industrial period should be kept below 2 deg C, the Accord pledged to stabilize atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations within accepted limits of man-made emissions that threaten the climate. Although not explicitly stated in the Accord, it is generally agreed that this corresponds to limiting greenhouse accumulation to about 450 parts per million CO2-equivalents.
- Deep cuts in overall emissions “consistent with science and on the basis of equity” will be made. Equity includes recognizing that the time frame for achieving this objective will be longer in developing countries.
- Adaptation to the detrimental effects of climate change, especially in developing countries and small island countries, will require that developed countries contribute financial and technological assistance to developing countries.
- Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) and the corollary effect of promoting removal of atmospheric CO2 by forest growth is recognized as being a significant factor in certain countries for limiting greenhouse gas emissions, and is to be a supported activity of the Accord.
- Collective commitment of up to US$30 billion during the period 2010-2012 is pledged to promote mitigation, REDD, adaptation and technology transfer with respect to developing countries, with a further pledge of US$100 billion by 2020.