BRUSSELS - The United States and Canada must do more than currently proposed to tackle greenhouse gases, France says in a position paper ahead of global climate talks in Copenhagen this December.
The government document seen by Reuters, titled: Possible outline of a fair and ambitious agreement in Copenhagen, is the strongest message yet to the United States and Canada from within the European Union.
Paris also made the first concrete suggestions on how ministers in Copenhagen might tackle soaring emissions from aviation, but stopped short of suggesting emission curbs for shipping.
Airlines should cut emissions to 5 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, said the document, seen by Reuters on Wednesday.
It warned that Canada and the United States were not on course to cut emissions by the level needed, making it difficult for rich nations to meet the 25-40 percent collective reduction in greenhouse gases recommended by a U.N. climate panel.
The panel says such cuts are needed to avoid the most dangerous effects of climate change, such as melting ice sheets, thawing permafrost and rising sea levels.
It is therefore necessary for Canada and the U.S. to take on commitments which are at least on a par with the EU's, compared with 1990 levels, it added.
The EU has already committed to cut its own emissions to 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, and will increase those cuts to 30 percent if other nations take similar action.
PAPER A SURPRISE
Ottawa reacted with surprise, saying French officials had not mentioned their views during recent meetings with Canadian Environment Minister Jim Prentice, most lately in Mexico this week.
At no time, has this issue been raised by the French with minister Prentice, said his spokesman Bill Rodgers.
Prentice, speaking to reporters later, defended Canada's pledge to cut carbon emissions 20 percent from 2006 levels by 2020, which Ottawa says is more than the United States is proposing to do.
We continue to take the position that, given our industrial base, our climate and our geography, these are realistic targets, but they are very ambitious (and) reflect what we are able to do in our country, Prentice said.
The French paper said countries should base their emissions on the U.N. climate panel's most cautious scenarios.
The position is likely to feed into EU negotiations to form a co-ordinated European stance ahead of the Copenhagen talks.
Technology for curbing greenhouse gases must also be boosted globally and shared with poor nations.
Parties shall work toward the goal of at least a doubling of global energy-related research and development and demonstration by 2012 and increasing it up to four times its current level by 2020, the document said.
Emerging economies such as China, India, Brazil and South Africa should outpace the action of other developing nations, which should cut to 15 to 30 percent below business-as-usual levels, it added. (Additional reporting by Allan Dowd in Vancouver; editing by Dale Hudson, Keiron Henderson and Rob Wilson)