Friday, July 11, 2008

16 Major Economies Add To G-8 Climate Change Commitments

Jul 9: Not to be confused with the recent G-8 statement on climate change calling for a 50% reduction by 2050 [See WIMS 7/8/08], the so-called "Major Economies" organized by the White House, also met following the G-8 meeting and issued a statement. The Major Economies Meeting (MEM) included: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The eleven point statement indicated in part that, "we, the leaders of the world's major economies, both developed and developing, commit to combat climate change in accordance with our common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities and confront the interlinked challenges of sustainable development, including energy and food security, and human health."

They said they will continue working together to strengthen implementation of the Convention [U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC] and support the process designed to reach long-term cooperative action, "now, up to, and beyond 2012, in order to reach an agreed outcome in December 2009." They said the Major Economies Meetings constructively contributes to the "Bali process."

Without specifying specific targets, the MEM declaration said, "We support a shared vision for long-term cooperative action, including a long-term global goal for emission reductions, that assures growth, prosperity, and other aspects of sustainable development, including major efforts towards sustainable consumption and production, all aimed at achieving a low carbon society. Taking account of the science, we recognize that deep cuts in global emissions will be necessary to achieve the Convention’s ultimate objective, and that adaptation will play a correspondingly vital role. We believe that it would be desirable for the Parties to adopt in the negotiations under the Convention a long-term global goal for reducing global emissions, taking into account the principle of equity. We urge that serious consideration be given in particular to ambitious IPCC scenarios. Significant progress toward a long-term global goal will be made by increasing financing of the broad deployment of existing technologies and best practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build climate resilience. However, our ability ultimately to achieve a long-term global goal will also depend on affordable, new, more advanced, and innovative technologies, infrastructure, and practices that transform the way we live, produce and use energy, and manage land."

The said, "We will do more – we will continue to improve our policies and our performance while meeting other priority objectives – in keeping with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities [CBDR] and respective capabilities. . . the developed major economies will implement, consistent with international obligations, economy-wide mid-term goals and take corresponding actions in order to achieve absolute emission reductions and, where applicable, first stop the growth of emissions as soon as possible, reflecting comparable efforts among them. At the same time, the developing major economies will pursue, in the context of sustainable development, nationally appropriate mitigation actions, supported and enabled by technology, financing and capacity-building, with a view to achieving a deviation from business as usual emissions."

Finally, the MEM recognizes that tackling climate change will require greater mobilization of financial resources, both domestically and internationally; the members agreed to seven specific actions to enable the full, effective, and sustained implementation of the Convention between now and 2012; and said they will continue to work constructively together to promote the success of the Copenhagen climate change conference in 2009.

The G-5 countries of Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa; issued a separate declaration addressing several issues including climate change. On climate change the G-5 said in part, "We urge the international community to address the challenge of climate change through long term cooperative action in accordance with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol, especially the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities." Specifically, they said, "It is essential that developed countries take the lead in achieving ambitious and absolute greenhouse gas emissions reductions in accordance with their quantified emission targets under the Kyoto Protocol after 2012, of at least 25‑40 per cent range for emissions reductions below 1990 levels by 2020, and, by 2050, by between 80 and 95 per cent below those levels, with comparability of efforts among them."

"For developing countries, adaptation is of cardinal importance, particularly given their vulnerability, limited capacity and inadequate means. We stress the need of scaling up resources for adaptation and strengthening of adaptive potential in developing countries in order to reinforce capabilities to prevent and confront the increased frequency and scale of natural disasters and the other adverse effects of climate change."

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) attended the meetings and issued a commentary at the conclusion saying, "The only good news about the Bush 'major economies meeting' (MEM) is that it has mercifully now come to an end -- not with a bang, but a whimper. The clear split between the European Union and the United States, Canada and Japan on global warming policy was on full display these past three days. This fissure prevented the G-8 members from reaching any meaningful understanding with the major developing countries that came to Hokkaido for the major economies meeting. President Bush gets the lion's share of the blame for this failure of leadership, but Prime Minister Fukuda and Prime Minister Harper share responsibility as well. . .

"One bright spot at this meeting is that the so-called G-5 countries. . . have developed a unified position on key issues, and issued their own detailed declaration in response to the G-8 leaders' statement. They made it clear that if 'developed countries take the lead in achieving ambitious and absolute greenhouse gas emissions reductions,' they would be 'committed to undertaking nationally appropriate mitigation … actions' aimed at "achieving a deviation from business-as-usual" emissions levels."

Access the declaration statement of the Major Economies meeting (
click here). Access the G-8 Summit website which also includes the MEM documents (click here). Access the complete G-5 countries declaration (click here). Access the complete commentary of UCS (click here). Access and explanation of the CBDR principle (click here). [*Climate, *Energy]