The key decision on preventing catastrophic climate change will be delayed for up to six years if the Copenhagen summit delivers a compromise deal which ignores advice from the UN’s science body.
World leaders will not agree on the emissions cuts recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and are likely instead to commit to reviewing them in 2015 or 2016.
The delay will anger developing countries who, scientists say, will face the worst effects of climate change despite having contributed relatively little of the man-made greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
A draft text published by the UN says that there should be a review in 2016, which could result in an “update of the long-term global goal for emissions reductions as well as of the adequacy of commitments and actions”.
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