G8 Agree Climate Change Pact
A new climate change pact has been agreed which could form the framework for a new agreement that would replace the Kyoto Treaty. The delegates are set to urge the G8 to endorse the new climate change agreement when they meet on the 6th June 2007. Crucially the US government, who refused to sign the Kyoto treaty, appears to be a strong supporter.
Delegates from the G8 +5 (the G8, plus Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa) met in the Caucus Room at the US Senate in Washington DC. The talks, arranged by the Global Legislators for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE), appear to have yielded a potential successor to the Kyoto Treaty, in light of recent publications of the Stern Report on Climate Change and the report by Report Working Group 1 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The key areas of agreement:
- Setting a global limit for greenhouse gas emission at between 450 and 550 parts per million equivalent of Carbon Dioxide (the current level is about 380 ppm)
- Greenhouse gas emissions targets for all countries, taking consideration of wealth, economic development and other needs
- Incentives to reduce deforestation
- Establishing a global market for trading emissions of greenhouse gasses
- Providing incentives for the development of technology in the areas of renewable energy, sustainable biofuels, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and energy efficiency.
Climate Change Action
Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany and chair of the G8 discussions, has made climate change her number one priority. It is hoped that these recommendations will be formally agreed at the G8 in June, and that it will eventually lead to a UN resolution when the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) meet in November. If so, we could have a significantly improved successor to the Kyoto treaty, which will expire in 2012.
The nations involved in the talks are: The G8 nations (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom and the USA) and the +5 nations (Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa).
In a statement issued by the forum, the nations have agreed on the following points:
- "The evidence that man is changing the climate is beyond doubt
- "The cost of inaction is greater than the cost of action
- "Each year of delay in action to control emissions increases the risk of impacts that will require steeper reductions in the future, at greater economic cost and disruption
- "Climate change is a global issue and there is an obligation on us all to take action, in line with our capabilities and historical responsibilities
- "We underline the importance of action not just to increase climate security but to increase our energy security, improve our air quality and our health and support biodiversity
- "We have the technologies today to reduce our emissions, given the right policy frameworks and incentives
- "We need to generate an international consensus on the measures required to stabilise the climate
- "We urge the G8 and +5 governments to identify, at the G8 Summit in Heiligendamm, a measurable long-term goal to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. This goal should be to stabilise the concentrations at a level between 450 and 500 parts per million of CO2 equivalent, whilst recognising that meeting the EU's 2 degrees Celsius target would require stabilisation at the lower end of this range
- "The particular importance of technology such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) to decarbonise fossil fuels, together with support for renewables, sustainable biofuels and energy efficiency technology
- "Establishing a market value for greenhouse gasses over the long term.
- "International cooperation to transfer existing technologies
- "Energy efficiency is the most cost-effective way to decrease greenhouse gas emissions
- "The World Bank estimates that adapting to the unavoidable impacts of climate change will require an additional USD 10-40 billion per year. If we do not act now to reduce emissions, this figure will increase dramatically and there will be severe impacts on public health and the availability of critical resources including water "
The report finishes with the following closing paragraphs:
"In order to ensure that the long term goal is met, we urge the governments of the G8 and the +5 countries, when they meet at the G8 summit in Heiligendamm, to agree on the key elements of a post 2012 (post Kyoto) framework and to urge that global negotiations on such a framework be at the Bali meeting of the UNFCCC in November, to be concluded by 2009. We suggest that these elements should include:
- Long-term targets for developed countries
- Appropriate targets for developing economies
- Incentives for measures to reduce deforestation
- Incentives for sustainable development policies and measures in developing countries
- Programs focusing on capacity building, access to technology and financial incentives - to help developing countries invest in more efficient, low carbon technologies
- For the most vulnerable developing countries, increased access to climate data, cooperative research on key technologies for adaptation in agriculture and health, giving priority to disaster prevention and improved resilience to climate variability "