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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08LISBON624 2008-03-12 17:14:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Lisbon
Cable title:  

PORTUGAL SUPPORTS IPCC LANGUAGE TO REDUCE GHG

Tags:   ENRG SENV KGHG EUN PO 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO3015
PP RUEHAG RUEHROV
DE RUEHLI #0624/01 0721714
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 121714Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY LISBON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6701
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC PRIORITY
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 LISBON 000624 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/11/2018
TAGS: ENRG SENV KGHG EUN PO
SUBJECT: PORTUGAL SUPPORTS IPCC LANGUAGE TO REDUCE GHG
EMISSIONS BY 25-40%

REF: STATE 24257

Classified By: Dep P/E Couns Cari Enav for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

Summary
--------



1. (C) EU member states, including Portugal, strongly
support Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
language suggesting Annex 1 countries collectively reduce
their emissions by 25-40% by 2020, according to a
high-ranking Environment Ministry official who characterized
the proposal as realistic and science-based. Political
momentum within the EU to address climate change is
irreversible, he noted, with several NGOs criticizing
European policy makers for not being ambitious enough.
Regardless of which scenario is chosen, the EU is endeavoring
to de-carbonize emissions by 2050. Our contact reiterated
the EU's well-known position that developed nations must lead
by example in the fight against climate change. He noted
that Portugal was pleased with the Major Economies Process
but that some member states were disappointed with the
Honolulu meeting, where he claimed US and Chinese officials
failed to acknowledge the progress achieved at the Bali
Conference.


Political Momentum Irreversible


--------------------------





2. (C) On March 11, Deputy Pol/Econ Counselor delivered
reftel points to Fausto Brito e Abreu, Advisor to the
Environment Secretary of State Humberto Rosa. Brito e Abreu
responded that political momentum within the EU to combat
climate change is irreversible, with all member states,
including Portugal, strongly supporting IPCC language that
Annex 1 countries (developed nations) collectively reduce
emissions by 25-40% by 2020, compared to 1990 levels. He
assured us that he would pass US concerns to the Prime
Minister's office but doubted they would influence Portugal's
position. While acknowledging that Russia and Canada shared
concerns similar to ours, he commented that the US is
relatively isolated in its position and noted that Australia
had recently come to see the EU perspective. Brito e Abreu
insisted that the IPCC scenario was realistic and
science-based, emphasizing that past results had shown that
"when there's a will, there,s a way." Furthermore, EU
climate change policy supported the IPCC scenario goal as
member states had committed to reducing GHG emissions by 30%
by 2020, compared to 1990 levels, as long as other
industrialized nations did the same.

Leading by Example


--------------------------





3. (U) Brito e Abreu reiterated the EU's well-known position
that developed nations have a moral obligation to lead the
fight against climate change. Leading by example, he argued,
would encourage India, China and other developing nations to
follow suit. He said that Portugal does not support
nationally determined targets as such an approach would allow
countries to be decidedly unambitious. On the other hand,
Portugal was particularly supportive of the USG-proposed
sectoral approach as it presented the greatest opportunity to
obtain "the necessary" developing country buy-in.

De-Carbonizing by 2050


--------------------------





4. (U) Despite the differences, Portugal is pleased with the
USG's active engagement and welcomed further discussions on
alternate scenarios proposed by the IPCC, Brito e Abreu said.
Regardless of what scenario is chosen, it is important for
the EU and others to de-carbonize (zero percent) emissions by
2050 in order to limit the rise in global temperature to 2
degrees Fahrenheit.

Backtracking at the MEM??


--------------------------





5. (C) Portugal is pleased with the Major Economies Process
although some member states, Brito e Abreu noted, were
disillusioned during the January Hawaii meeting in which some
US and Chinese participants spoke as if "Bali had never
happened." Both Environment SecState Rosa, who attended the
January meeting, and Brito e Abreu plan to attend the April
meeting in Paris. Brito e Abreu did not elaborate on the
alleged "backtracking" by certain US and Chinese
participants.


LISBON 00000624 002 OF 002



Comment


--------------------------





6. (C) Brito e Abreu reiterated his satisfaction with
increased US engagement in the international effort to combat
climate change over the past year but was unconvinced by U.S.
concerns. Despite our outlining major US actions and
legislation to fight climate change and insisting that the US
and EU work together to bring other nations on board, it was
clear from our discussion that Europe still feels it is
leading the process and hopes that the US will hop on board
the EU train under their conditions. We are sharing reftel
points with the MFA but note that the Ministry of Environment
has the clear lead on this issue within the Portuguese
government.
Stephenson