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G8 summit declaration

Filed under: — stefan @ 8 June 2007

We assume that many of our readers will be interested in the declaration of the G8 summit in Heiligendamm (Germany), which was agreed yesterday by the leaders of the G8 countries. We therefore document the key passages on climate change below. As usual we refrain from a political analysis, but as scientists we note that it is rewarding to see that the results of climate science are fully acknowledged by the heads of state.

The declaration states:

CLIMATE CHANGE

48. We take note of and are concerned about the recent UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports. The most recent report concluded both, that global temperatures are rising, that this is caused largely by human activities and, in addition,that for increases in global average temperature, there are projected to be major changes in ecosystem structure and function with predominantly negative consequences for biodiversity and ecosystems, e.g. water and food supply.

Fighting Climate Change

49. We are therefore committed to taking strong and early action to tackle climate change in order to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Taking into account the scientific knowledge as represented in the recent IPCC reports, global greenhouse gas emissions must stop rising, followed by substantial global emission reductions. In setting a global goal for emissions reductions in the process we have agreed today involving all major emitters, we will consider seriously the decisions made by the European Union, Canada and Japan which include at least a halving of global emissions by 2050. We commit to achieving these goals and invite the major emerging economies to join us in this endeavour.

50. As climate change is a global problem, the response to it needs to be international. We welcome the wide range of existing activities both in industrialised and developing countries. We share a long-term vision and agree on the need for frameworks that will accelerate action over the next decade. Complementary national, regional and global policy frameworks that co-ordinate rather than compete with each other will strengthen the effectiveness of the measures. Such frameworks must address not only climate change but also energy security, economic growth, and sustainable development objectives in an integrated approach. They will provide important orientation for the necessary future investment decisions.

51. We stress that further action should be based on the UNFCCC principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. We reaffirm, as G8 leaders, our responsibility to act. We acknowledge the continuing leadership role that developed economies have to play in any future climate change efforts to reduce global emissions, so that all countries undertake effective climate commitments tailored to their particular situations. We recognise however, that the efforts of developed economies will not be sufficient and that new approaches for contributions by other countries are needed. Against this background, we invite notably the emerging economies to address the increase in their emissions by reducing the carbon intensity of their economic development. Action of emerging economies could take several forms, such as sustainable development policies and measures, an improved and strengthened clean development mechanism, the setting up of plans for the sectors that generate most pollution so as to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions compared with a business as usual scenario.

52. We acknowledge that the UN climate process is the appropriate forum for negotiating future global action on climate change. We are committed to moving forward in that forum and call on all parties to actively and constructively participate in the UN Climate Change Conference in Indonesia in December 2007 with a view to achieving a comprehensive post 2012-agreement (post Kyoto-agreement) that should include all major emitters.

53. To address the urgent challenge of climate change, it is vital that major economies that use the most energy and generate the majority of greenhouse gas emissions agree on a detailed contribution for a new global framework by the end of 2008 which would contribute to a global agreement under the UNFCCC by 2009. We therefore reiterate the need to engage major emitting economies on how best to address the challenge of climate change. We embrace efforts to work with these countries on long term strategies. To this end, our representatives have already met with the representatives of Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa in Berlin on 4 May 2007. We will continue to meet with high representatives of these and other major energy consuming and greenhouse gas emitting countries to consider the necessary components for successfully combating climate change. We welcome the offer of the United States to host such a meeting later this year. This major emitters’ process should include, inter alia, national, regional and international policies, targets and plans, in line with national circumstances, an ambitious work program within the UNFCCC, and the development and deployment of climate-friendly technology. This dialogue will support the UN climate process and report back to the UNFCCC.


455 Responses to “G8 summit declaration”

  1. 451
    John Mashey says:

    re: #415 and simulation games

    Today’s issue of Science, p 1.702 mentioned a computer game, “FloodRanger”, akin to SimCity but including management of flood defenses, loosely based on East Coast of England, described at:
    http://www.discoverysoftware.co.uk/

    Looks like a worthy idea, and combined with http://flood.firetree.net/,
    one can see why this would especially be of interest to that area.

  2. 452
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Jim and Nigel,
    Leapfrogging in the developing world is distinctly possible. Indeed, it might well facilitate more rapid growth by insulating fragile developing economies from the shocks of an increasingly volatile energy market. Moreover, such “offsets” might be more economical for countries dependent on “legacy” technologies than making the switch themselves. For such a strategy to work, though, the zero-sum mentality currently prevalent toward “aid” would have to change. If not, it is likely that developing countries will adopt the “cheapest” alternative–whether that is coal or nuclear or cow dung–and the long-term consequences be damned. And that is not selfishness, but survival.

  3. 453

    [[So to conclude my position: Let us put radical changes on hold until around ~2020 or so. It won't be too late by then to have a global Marshall plan, if the worst case IPCC scenarios are starting to look probable. And if they aren't looking probable at all, then we have just saved ourselves trillions of dollars to be spent on more pressing concerns.
    Is there a fault in this logic?
    ]]

    Yes, a big one. Tremendous damage will be done by 2020 if we don’t act now. It is already happening. It will get worse as time goes on. And if we’ve done nothing by 2020, it may be that we kick off geophysical feedbacks that make the problem so much worse human civilization will be endangered.

  4. 454
    James says:

    Re waiting to 2020: As any retirement planner will tell you, the sooner you start saving & investing, the more they pay off in the long run. Suppose you want to buy a new vehicle this year, and have a choice between a Cadillac Escalade (MSRP $54,760) and a Toyota Prius (MSRP $22,175). So right there you’ve saved yourself over $32K. Invest that at a good rate until 2020, and how much more more money will you have?

    Now suppose you take that money, and invest it in some CFL light bulbs, better insulation for your house, maybe even solar heat & hot water. All of a sudden your monthly utility bill is slashed by half or more, and you have an extra $100 or so every month. So you (and a million other people who did the same thing) invest in some solar, wind, & nuclear plants, and pretty soon those start paying dividends.

    Meanwhile you decide to bike to work several days a week, and after a while you notice that the spare tire around your middle is starting to shrink. You find yourself eating less, but enjoying it more (which would have saved you money too, except that you got into gourmet cookery). And after a few years, you find that exercise & healthy eating have saved you the expense of a coronary bypass. You live a long & healthy life spending the dividends you got from cutting your CO2 footprint, and disappointing your heirs.

    Cutting CO2 is going to cost trillions? Right…

    S

  5. 455
    Mike Donald says:

    #407

    And spotting “false dichotomy”, “strawman argument”, sophistry, “cherry picking”…


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