Environmentalists: G8 climate deal "lacks substance"

Campaigners have warned that the statement on climate change by leaders of the eight most industrialised nations (or G8) meeting is "weak and lacks substance."

The consensus view amongst environmentalists is that although G8 leaders meeting in Heiligendamm, Germany last week made some progress under the leadership of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, they failed to commit their countries to serious targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

All countries except the US and Russia made a non-binding pledge to cut the climate change-causing gases by at least half by 2050. Scientists say that such a cut is necessary to try and keep the increase in global average temperatures below two degrees centigrade from pre-industrial levels.

The eight countries agreed to launch a comprehensive negotiation on climate change under United Nations auspices starting with the UN climate conference in Bali in December 2007 and to end the negotiations by 2009.

Friends of the Earth International Climate Change campaigner Yuri Onodera said: "We have already seen many empty promises by G8 leaders over the past years but there has not been much real action, so we urge G8 leaders to act now and cut their greenhouse gas emissions drastically and immediately.”

“The US administration, which continuously obstructed the fight against climate change, did not manage to prevent world leaders here from pledging that they will take multilateral action,” he added.

Collectively the G8 nations, which represent just 13% of the world's population, are responsible for around 43% of total global greenhouse gas emissions.

Meanwhile, global warming is advancing at three times the predicted rate, according Geoffrey Lean, who notes that “a series of startling, authoritative studies has...
found that emissions of carbon dioxide have been rising at thrice the rate in the 1990s. The Arctic ice cap is melting three times as fast - and the seas are rising twice as rapidly - as had been predicted” Read the rest

And you can read Walden Bello on climate change and the G8 at this website