Thursday, September 27, 2007

Major Economies Meeting On Energy Security & Climate Change

Sep 27: According to a fact sheet from the White House the United States is hosting representatives of 17 countries plus the United Nations in the first Major Economies Meeting on Energy Security and Climate Change [See WIMS 9/24/07, 9/26/07]. The meeting is part of the new initiative President Bush announced at the G-8 Leaders Conference in May 2007 to further the shared objectives of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing energy security and efficiency, and promoting strong economic growth [See WIMS 6/1/07].

The White House indicated that the meeting is the first of a series that will bring the world's major economies together to develop a detailed contribution to address energy security and climate change when the Kyoto Protocol targets expire in 2012. The meetings are intended to reinforce and accelerate discussions under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and contribute to a global agreement under the Convention by 2009. The U.S. is hosting representatives from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union (Portugal as current EU President plus the European Commission), France, Germany, Indonesia, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, and the United Kingdom, plus the United Nations.

The White House indicated further that the U.S. will work with participating major economies to agree on a path forward under the UNFCCC and a working agenda for the year, including the following steps. (1) establish a process for and considerations in reaching agreement, in 2008, on a long-term global goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. (2) Consider national goals and strategies over the mid-term, reflecting each nation's own mix of energy sources, future energy needs, and development priorities, to address the challenges of energy security and climate change, and discuss what more needs to be done. (3) Highlight the most urgent needs for research and development of clean energy technologies. (4) Identify areas for collaboration in key sectors and discuss challenges and opportunities for the development, financing, and commercialization of clean energy technologies. Participants will also discuss the approaches to reduce or eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers for clean energy technologies and services. (5) Develop a stronger, more transparent, and reliable system for measuring actions to reduce greenhouse gases and improve energy security, and track progress toward meeting these goals.

The fact sheet says, "The President's international energy security and climate change initiative recognizes that responsible action to address climate change and economic growth go hand in hand. It is only through strong economies that we can sustain the investment necessary to achieve lasting solutions. While all countries must do their part to reduce emissions, we should not seek to impose on any countries measures or frameworks that thwart their efforts to meet the legitimate aspirations of their people for better and more prosperous lives... We are on track to meet or exceed the President's goal of reducing the greenhouse gas intensity of our economy by 18 percent by 2012. From 2000 to 2005, we reduced our economy's greenhouse gas intensity by 8.5 percent, while our population grew by 5.3 percent, and our economy grew by 12 percent."

Groups Hold Parallel Climate Change Meeting

Sep 25: On September 27 and 28, 2007 the National Environmental Trust (NET), the United Nations Foundation and the Royal Institute of International Affairs are hosting a parallel summit to President Bush's Major Economies meeting [See article above]. The groups said their meeting was necessary "in order to provide balance and ensure a focus on the UN climate process." NET said that leading climate change NGO experts from Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, India, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, and the United Kingdom will attend this summit. Many of the NGO leaders act as official advisors to their government on global warming and will be members of their respective nation's delegations at this December's Bali meeting.

The groups indicated that their parallel meeting is designed to produce balanced views based on the Major Economies Meeting (MEM) agenda and assess how this meeting could contribute to the UN climate process. It will provide a media counterpoint, with participants providing media background briefs on 26 September, prior to the opening of the intergovernmental conference, and reactions and commentary on the release of the MEC communiqué.

Access the White House fact sheet (click here). Access a list of attendees (click here). Access the Department of State website for information and reference documents about the meeting (click here). Access the White House Council on Environmental Quality Clean Energy and Climate Change website for additional information (click here). Access the NET website for more about the parallel conference; a full list of participants; a history of climate change negotiations and more (click here). [*Climate, *Energy]