Sunday, 12 July 2009

G8 and the Major Economies Forum - No sense of urgency on climate change.

The G8 and the Major Economies Forum (MEF) merely delivered climate change talk and aspirations

High level meetings raise expectations. Including climate change in the agenda of L'Aquila meetings was no exception to this, and it raised hopes that President Obama could make a difference. The outcome? The G8 and the Major Economies Forum (MEF) merely delivered climate change talk and aspirations.They achieved little of substance and made no progress towards anything tangible to support the development of GHG emissions reduction targets which could have made a difference to the forthcoming climate change negotiations in Copenhagen.MEF Building Blocks Maybe it was the wrong forum for that, but if so why was climate change on the agenda?

Long term GHG emissions reduction targets (50% or 80% by 2050 were quoted), feel too remote to stimulate urgent action. Agreement to limit temperature rise to not more than 2C, while signaling some desire to address the problems of global warming, is useless unless translated into concrete emissions reduction targets.

The ten warmest years since 1880 have all occurred within the twelve year period between 1997-2008 (see GISS).The science, (see IPCC) also suggests that the rate of increase in global temperature is accelerating and that, in the next two decades, warming of about 0.2°C per decade is expected. Addressing climate change is an urgent issue.

However, contrary to the imperatives that the science suggests, the L'Aquila declaration of the MEF on Energy and Climate Change does not convey any sense of urgency nor inspire confidence that there is unity of purpose in tackling climate change; this despite earlier hopes that positive involvement from the USA could make a difference. MEF Building BlocksThe declaration said

"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".

The weak language and lack of urgency of the MEF declaration does not bode well for a successful outcome to the COP15 Copenhagen negotiations.

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