G8: European countries must stand up to Bush on climate

4 June 2007

June 4th 2007, Brussels - Friends of the Earth Europe warned today that unless European leaders take the lead and stand up to US President George Bush on climate change at the G8 talks in Heiligendamm, Germany this week, the eight most industrialised nations will let down the world's poorest nations.

The summit is in danger of ending without a strong agreement to fight climate change, mainly because the United States has attempted to abolish any meaningful language on climate change from the German President Angela Merkel's proposed text.

Sonja Meister, Climate Campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe, said:
"European leaders must enforce their position and stand up to President Bush, who is attempting to weaken the G8's commitment to fight climate change. A watered-down compromise would send the wrong signal ahead of climate talks in Bali at the end of the year. The G8 must commit to the UN-led Kyoto process to cut carbon dioxide emissions and not become distracted by Bush's recent proposal for parallel negotiations."

Friends of the Earth Europe is urging G8 heads of state to:

  • commit to keeping the increase in global average temperatures below two degrees centigrade from pre-industrial levels
  • commit to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2020 and by 80 percent by 2050
  • send a strong signal ahead of the international UN negotiations in Bali at the end of the year, that the G8 is committed to a binding agreement for the next phase of the Kyoto Protocol, that should start immediately after the conclusion of the first phase

Collectively the G8 nations, which represent just 13 per cent of the world's population, are responsible for about 43 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

"The exclusive G8 club of rich industrialized nations is responsible for pumping out nearly half of the world's greenhouse gases, whereas the poorest countries will be hit hardest by the consequences of climate change. It would now be completely unjust for the G8 to back off from their moral obligation to commit to fighting climate change," Ms Meister added.

Leading up to the G8 meeting, the United States has also stressed that new technologies will be an important solution for climate change.

Charly Poppe, Trade Campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said:
"New technologies like solar panels and wind turbines will be crucial in setting poor countries on a climate-friendly development path, so developed nations need to grant free access to renewable energy and energy efficiency technology for the poorest countries. The G8 should agree to give financial aid and relax intellectual property rights on these technologies for the poorest countries."

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NOTES:

[1] In a leaked draft of the final text of the G8 declaration the US is trying to delete text passages like "We are committed to taking strong and early action to tackle climate change in order to contribute our fair share to limit global warning to 2o C. This will imply global greenhouse gas emissions must stop rising within the next 10 to 15 years, followed by substantial global emission reductionsof around 50% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels." Read leaked draft