Thursday, June 07, 2007

G-8 Says GHG Must Stop Rising; Followed By Reductions

Jun 7: At the G-8 meeting being held in Heiligendamm, Germany from June 6-8, the member countries adopted a Summit Declaration that includes major provisions on climate change and energy efficiency and energy security. The forum brings together heads of state from the G-8 countries (Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, the United States, Canada and Japan) plus 5 countries (China, India, Mexico, Brazil and South Africa), which together produce 75 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases.The European Commission and United Nations are also represented at the meetings.

As part of the 38-page Summit Declaration document entitled, Growth and Responsibility In The World Economy, the G-8 countries addressed the issue of climate change by saying, "Since we met in Gleneagles, science has more clearly demonstrated that climate change is a long term challenge that has the potential to seriously damage our natural environment and the global economy. We firmly agree that resolute and concerted international action is urgently needed in order to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy security. Tackling climate change is a shared responsibility of all, and can and must be undertaken in a way that supports growth in developing, emerging and industrialized economies, while avoiding economic distortions...

"We recognize the important opportunities offered by effective action addressing climate change, in particular for innovation, technological development as well as poverty reduction... we are committed to the further development of the international regime to combat climate change, especially in the run-up to the UN Climate Change Conference in Indonesia at the end of this year...

"Addressing the challenge of energy security will require unprecedented international cooperation in several areas, including market transparency, enhancing energy efficiency, diversifying energy supplies and developing and deploying new and transformational technologies... we herewith strongly reaffirm our commitment to Global Energy Security Principles... Improving energy efficiency worldwide is the fastest, the most sustainable and the cheapest way to reduce greenhouse gas [GHG] emissions and enhance energy security.

Noting the recent UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, the G-8 nations said,"We are therefore committed to taking strong and early action to tackle climate change in order to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Taking into account the scientific knowledge as represented in the recent IPCC reports, global greenhouse gas emissions must stop rising, followed by substantial global emission reductions. In setting a global goal for emissions reductions in the process we have agreed today involving all major emitters, we will consider seriously the decisions made by the European Union, Canada and Japan which include at least a halving of global emissions by 2050. We commit to achieving these goals and invite the major emerging economies to join us in this endeavor...

"We stress that further action should be based on the UNFCCC principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. We reaffirm, as G8 leaders, our responsibility to act. We acknowledge the continuing leadership role that developed economies have to play in any future climate change efforts to reduce global emissions, so that all countries undertake effective climate commitments tailored to their particular situations. We recognize however, that the efforts of developed economies will not be sufficient and that new approaches for contributions by other countries are needed. Against this background, we invite notably the emerging economies to address the increase in their emissions by reducing the carbon intensity of their economic development."

The countries also agreed that the UN climate process is the appropriate forum for negotiating future global action on climate change, and said they are committed "to moving forward" by participating in the UN Climate Change Conference in Indonesia in December 2007, "with a view to achieving a comprehensive post 2012-agreement (post Kyoto-agreement) that should include all major emitters." The declaration further details the countries' positions on Technology, Market Mechanisms, Reducing Emissions by Curbing Deforestation, Adapting to Climate Change, Biodiversity, and a major section on Energy Efficiency; where they indicated energy efficiency policies could contribute to 80% of avoided greenhouse gases while substantially increasing security of supply. Under Energy Efficiency they agreed to principles on Sustainable Buildings, Transportation, Power Generation, and Energy Diversification.

Access the 38-page Summit Declaration (
click here). Access the G-8 Summit German website for additional information (click here). Access a June 6 press briefing including Jim Connaughton, Council on Environmental Quality, with comments on the G-8 meeting (click here). Access links to various media reports on the G-8 climate change action (click here). [*Climate, *Energy]