Friday, May 18, 2007

Advice & Criticism On G-8 Meeting Climate Change Action

International Science Academies Urge G-8 Action

May 16: The U.S. National Academy of Sciences joined 12 other worldwide national science academies in calling on world leaders -- particularly G-8 leaders who will meet in June [See related post below] -- to address global climate change and energy-access issues by promoting low carbon-emission energy systems and more efficient use of energy. The academies also urged leaders to facilitate scientific and technical innovation, and to simplify and enforce a balanced intellectual property regime.

The groups issued two statements: (1) Science Academies' Joint Statement: Promotion and Protection of Innovation; (2) Science Academies' Joint Statement: Sustainability, Energy Efficiency, and Climate Protection. The 12 other academies include: Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South America and United Kingdom.

In the statement addressing climate and energy the academies' said, "It is important that the 2007 G8 Summit is addressing the linked issues of energy security and climate change. These are defining issues of our time, and bring together the themes of growth and responsibility in a way that highlights our duties to future generations. In 2005, the Academies issued a statement emphasizing that "climate change was occurring and could be attributed mostly to human activities, and calling for efforts to tackle both the causes of climate change and the inevitable consequences of past and unavoidable future emissions...

"Recent research strongly reinforces our previous conclusions. It is unequivocal that the climate is changing, and it is very likely that this is predominantly caused by the increasing human interference with the atmosphere. These changes will transform the environmental conditions on Earth unless counter-measures are taken...

"G8 countries bear a special responsibility for the current high level of energy consumption and the associated climate change. Newly industrialized countries will share this responsibility in the future."

The 13 Academies of Sciences have called on "world leaders, especially those meeting at the G8 Summit in June 2007, to: (1) Set standards and promote economic instruments for efficiency, and commit to promoting energy efficiency for buildings, devices, motors, transportation systems and in the energy sector itself; (2) Promote understanding of climate and energy issues and encourage necessary behavioral changes within our societies; (3) Define and implement measures to reduce global Deforestation; (4) Strengthen economic and technological exchange with developing countries, in order to leapfrog to cleaner and more efficient modern technologies; (5) Invest strongly in science and technology related to energy efficiency, zero-carbon energy resources and carbon-removing technologies."

Access the joint statement on Promotion and Protection of Innovation (
click here). Access the joint statement on Sustainability, Energy Efficiency, and Climate Protection (click here).

Markey Blasts Bush On G-8 Climate Negotiations

May 17: Representative Edward Markey (D-MA), Chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming issued a statement highly critical of the Administration's attempts to weaken the upcoming G-8 meeting agenda as it relates to climate change. The G8+5 includes: Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, the United States, Canada and Japan; the plus 5 countries are China, India, Mexico, Brazil and South Africa. The European Commission is also represented at all the meetings.

Markey indicated that in the final meetings between resigning British Prime Minister Tony Blair and President George Bush, global warming is reportedly high on the agenda. But reports indicate that the Bush administration is cutting key language from the G-8 climate agreement set to be unveiled at the body’s next meeting in Germany in early June [June 6-8, Heiligendamm, Germany], "a reprise of the regressive role adopted by the Bush Administration at earlier international summits such as the 2005 G-8 summit which Blair hosted at Gleneagles.

Markey said the actions follow the Rose Garden announcement earlier this week from the White House on their plan to cut gasoline use and heat-trapping emissions from vehicles [See WIMS 05/15/07]. He said Bush reiterated his “twenty in ten” plan, which includes a goal of increasing fuel economy standards by 4 percent a year for ten years, but does not have any mandatory elements and would not be a completed proposal until three weeks before the President leaves office.

Markey said, “When it comes to making progress on combating the threat of global warming, President Bush has become very adept at the cynical game of maintaining a sunny demeanor while ordering his operatives to rain on the climate change parade. The President needs to tell his minions to re-engage with the international community on global warming, not continue their resistance.” Markey's comments follow the May 16 announcement from his colleague Representative Tom Lantos (D-CA), Chair of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, that he would introduce on May 23, "serious, substantive legislation to reinvigorate international negotiations to stop global warming and to help developing nations produce energy in a clean and sustainable way."

According to Markey, U.S. negotiators are reportedly trying to expunge several important parts of the G-8 climate statement, including the need to keep global temperature increases below 2 degrees Celsius; that dealing with global warming is an “imperative not a choice”; and targets on reducing global warming emissions. He said cited a similar event in late April, where President Bush discussed achieving progress on global warming with E.U. leaders at the U.S.--E.U. summit in Washington. Meanwhile, half a world away, in Bangkok, Thailand, the U.S. delegation was "criticizing the findings of the IPCC and downplaying the importance of stabilizing emissions, specifically disputing recommendations from European governments."

Access the complete statement from Representative Markey (click here). Access the statement from Representative Lantos (click here). Access the G-8 Summit German website for additional information (click here). Access background information on the G-8 upcoming climate negotiations (click here). Access a summary of actions entitled, The Road to Heiligendamm, compiled by the G-8 Research Group (click here). [*Climate, *Energy]