Thursday, July 09, 2009

G8+ Members Adopt Climate Change & Energy Documents

Jul 8: The G8 Summit is in full swing dealing with the international economic crisis, climate change and food security in L’Aquila, Italy. The "expanded" formats adopted for the Summit in L'Aquila provides for meetings of the G8 member countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) on the first day, and for the involvement of the G5 group of countries (Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa) plus Egypt (which has received a special invitation from the Italian Presidency) on the second day. On the same day, the debate will be opened up to include a further three countries (Australia, Indonesia and South Korea) representing the MEF (Major Economies Forum) to discuss the issues of climate changes and of food safety and security. Finally, a number of other countries, including the African countries and the six most important international organizations, will be brought into the debate on the last day, bringing the grand total to 39 countries all sitting down at the same table at once.

Specifically on climate change and energy matters, in a section entitled, Sustainable use of natural resources: climate change, clean energy and technology, of an overall 40 page document entitled, "Responsible Leadership For A Sustainable Future," dealing with the "interlinked challenges of the economic crisis, poverty and climate change," the G8 members indicate:

- The interlinked challenges of climate change, energy security and the sustainable and efficient use of natural resources are amongst the most important issues to be tackled in the strategic perspective of ensuring global sustainability. A shift towards green growth will provide an important contribution to the economic and financial crisis recovery.

- Science clearly shows that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions – mainly produced by the use of fossil fuels - are provoking dangerous climate change, putting at risk not only the environment and ecosystem services but the very basis of our present and future prosperity. The costs of inaction far outweigh the costs of moving towards low-carbon societies.

- We emphasize the paramount importance of technology development and diffusion on a global scale in meeting these challenges and accelerating the economic recovery, while moving towards a low-carbon society.

Specifically, in a subsection on Climate change and environment, the G8 heads state, "This is a crucial year for taking rapid and effective global action to combat climate change. We welcome the decision taken within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Poznan to enter full negotiating mode, in order to shape a global and comprehensive post-2012 agreement by the end of 2009 in Copenhagen, as mandated by the Bali Conference in 2007. We must seize this decisive opportunity to achieve a truly ambitious global consensus.

"We reconfirm our strong commitment to the UNFCCC negotiations and to the successful conclusion of a global, wide-ranging and ambitious post-2012 agreement in Copenhagen, involving all countries, consistent with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. In this context we also welcome the constructive contribution of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate to support a successful outcome in Copenhagen. We call upon all Parties to the UNFCCC and to its Kyoto Protocol to ensure that the negotiations under both the Convention and the Protocol result in a coherent and environmentally effective global agreement. . ."

And, specifically, in item #65 of the document, the G8 heads indicate, "We recognize the broad scientific view that the increase in global average temperature above pre-industrial levels ought not to exceed 2°C [3.6°F]. Because this global challenge can only be met by a global response, we reiterate our willingness to share with all countries the goal of achieving at least a 50% reduction of global emissions by 2050, recognizing that this implies that global emissions need to peak as soon as possible and decline thereafter. As part of this, we also support a goal of developed countries reducing emissions of greenhouse gases in aggregate by 80% or more by 2050 compared to 1990 or more recent years. Consistent with this ambitious long-term objective, we will undertake robust aggregate and individual mid-term reductions, taking into account that baselines may vary and that efforts need to be comparable. Similarly, major emerging economies need to undertake quantifiable actions to collectively reduce emissions significantly below business-as-usual by a specified year." [emphasis added]

The document also provides some further commitments to be carried forward to the Copenhagen negotiations [Item #69]. The G8 heads indicate: "We support flexible, economically sound market-based approaches to emission reductions. In particular, cap & trade schemes, where implemented, have proved largely successful and improved understanding of the potential advantages, critical issues and indicators. The use of market mechanisms, including those under the Kyoto Protocol, provides opportunities to reduce emissions cost-effectively, while facilitating technology diffusion, low-carbon development and the involvement of emerging and developing countries. With a view to building on these experiences and to facilitate action under the global post 2012 agreement, we commit to:

a) further explore, taking into account national circumstances, the potential of carbon trading systems and their possible linkages; b) cooperate among us and with other countries to expand carbon markets to the extent possible and reduce costs and align emission allowance trading schemes, with a view to developing transparent carbon markets which would expand to involve emerging and developing countries, including on a sectoral basis; c) support the development, reform and enhancement of project, programmatic and policy-based offset mechanisms, including the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), in order to encourage their use, enhance their effectiveness and environmental integrity, and facilitate actions from developing countries under the global, post-2012 agreement; d) work with others to further develop market mechanisms under the Copenhagen agreement to possibly include sectoral trading and sectoral crediting mechanisms, to enhance the participation of emerging economies and developing countries in the market ensuring environmental integrity."

Importantly, the document also contains sections on Technology development and research; Financing; Adaptation; Natural disasters; Forests and land degradation; Biodiversity; Education for Sustainable Development; Clean and accessible energy;
Energy efficiency, diversification of the energy mix and technology; and Combating energy poverty.

The Major Economies Forum (MEF) on Energy and Climate consisting of 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 met today (July 9) and adopted an even more general statement. The MEF statement simply says, among other statements, "We recognize the scientific view that the increase in global average temperature above pre-industrial levels ought not to exceed 2 degrees C. In this regard and in the context of the ultimate objective of the Convention and the Bali Action Plan, we will work between now and Copenhagen, with each other and under the Convention, to identify a global goal for substantially reducing global emissions by 2050."

Access the day one press release (
click here). Access the detailed 40-page document (click here). Access links to other documents of the G8 Summit 2009 (click here). Access the G8 2009 meeting website (click here). Access various media report of the G8 and climate change (click here). Access the MEF statement (click here). Access a White House fact sheet on the MEF (click here).