Europe views itself as the world leader and wants to limit climate change to 2 C above pre-industrial levels by 2050. It has pledged to cut carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2020, and to raise this to 30 percent if there is agreement at Copenhagen. It calls on emerging economies to cut their greenhouse gas emissions to nearly one third below current forecasts, and developing nations as a whole to be more ambitious about tackling climate change. It agrees the poorest will need financial help.
The Bush administration has regularly stalled on climate targets. Barack Obama's team has yet to make its position clear, but has promised "vigorous engagement" at Copenhagen. It has called for greater effort in emission reductions from developing countries such as China and India.
The country has taken a hard line so far and voiced its opposition to legally binding targets. But it has indicated that it would be willing to work to keep its growing per capita emissions below those of industrialized countries.
Russia says it will reject any new climate change agreement that imposed restrictions on Moscow but not bind other big polluters. Russia has earlier announced to reduce its emissions by 10 to 15 percent by 2020, with the base year of 1990. Russia's crucial gas resources have made it more bullish at climate talks. From 1999 to 2008 -- with economic growth of 6 to 7 percent a year -- emissions increased by about 1 percent a year.
The outgoing Japanese government planned to cut emissions by just 8 percent by 2020. But the newly elected government said Japan, the world's fifth-largest greenhouse gas emitter, will aim for a 25 percent cut in emissions by 2020 compared with 1990 levels. Japan is under pressure for tougher climate policies after its emissions rose 2.3 percent to a record in March 2008, putting the country 16 percent above its Kyoto Protocol target.
Source: China Daily, agencies and Energy Information Administration