t r u t h o u t | 06.06
G8: Legislators Detail Their Hopes for a Climate Accord
Wed Jun 6, 2007 22:03

G8: Legislators Detail Their Hopes for a Climate Accord
By Ramesh Jaura
Inter Press Service
Tuesday 05 June 2007

Berlin - Legislators from the G8 countries - Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada, United States and Russia - are hoping against hope that an historic breakthrough on climate change will be achieved at the Heiligendamm summit this week.

The expectation is shared by members of parliaments from the five emerging economies (E5): China, India, South Africa, Brazil and Mexico.

They are backed by outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair who told them Sunday that G8 leaders and their counterparts from five major developing countries "could agree an historic breakthrough on climate change" that would allow the United Nations negotiations in Bali later this year to begin substantive work on a new accord to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

Blair was addressing some 100 senior legislators from the G8 and five developing countries gathered in Berlin. The two-day forum in the German parliament, Bundestag, was organised by the GLOBE International, a worldwide network of legislators concerned with the environment, and the COM+ Alliance of Communicators for Sustainable Development.

The forum was set up with support from Blair during the British dual presidency of the G8 and European Union (EU) in 2005.

In a statement Monday, the legislators lent unequivocal support to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's stance on global warming: "It is critical that the G8, at Heiligendamm, demonstrates leadership ... to convey a vision for a post-2012 UN framework in line with the five elements put forward by Chancellor Merkel."

The five elements spelt out by Merkel in a video message to the legislators' forum Sunday include: a long-term global goal for reducing substantially greenhouse gas emissions; promotion of a global carbon market; increased support for technology research, development, deployment and transfer; increased support for adaptation, particularly in developing countries; and measures to reduce deforestation.

Blair said, "Angela Merkel's outstanding leadership has now given us a huge opportunity to make real progress towards these goals at the G8 summit."

He described U.S. President George W. Bush's controversial announcement a few days ago as "an important step forward," adding that "the U.S. for the first time wants to be part of a framework which commits the world to agreeing on a long term global goal to reduce emissions and national targets below that."

"Chancellor Merkel and I are now working hard to build on this momentum in the last days before Heiligendamm," Blair said.

Spelling out some of their far-reaching proposals, such as the support for global carbon markets, the legislators said: "Carbon markets are key to harnessing private sector energy and innovation to deliver mitigation options at least cost."

They call on the G8 to recognise that carbon markets, although necessary, are not sufficient to deliver the low carbon investment in alternative energy sources required in a timeframe consistent with the scale of the challenge.

They favour supporting policies and instruments such as strengthening the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol and a way to increase co-financing of energy investments in developing countries by industrialised countries, as well as a step-change in public-private partnerships to develop transitionary measures to drive down the technology cost curve.

They stress that carbon markets, to be effective, must be accompanied by ambitious emissions reduction targets and promote standards and transparency in those markets through independent ratings and valuations of carbon funds.

Furthermore, leading chief executive officers from the largest corporations in the energy sector - who were invited to the forum - called for the establishment of a global carbon market as a way to spur innovation, clean energy development, and the additional investments needed to steadily move to a lower carbon global economy.

The legislators plead for increasing support for national and international research programmes, including through the International Energy Agency (IEA), Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF), the EU, and the Gleneagles Plan of Action.

They also call for further practical collaboration between developed and developing countries to accelerate capacity building and demonstration.

The legislators want the commissioning comprehensive geological mapping across the large coal-using countries of the G8 and five emerging countries to identify the potential, and most appropriate sites, for storage of carbon dioxide underground.

They also call for strong support for the European Commission's proposal to develop an international framework agreement on energy efficiency. An international agreement could focus on regulatory cooperation, energy efficiency measurement and evaluation, labelling and performance standards for internationally traded goods, vehicle fuel efficiency, benchmarking and development of sectoral agreements, cooperation on technology development and deployment and financing for energy efficiency.

"Such an agreement could be taken forward in the Gleneagles Dialogue process with a view to implementation in 2008," the legislators say.

The current G8 presidency is hoping to begin a Heiligendamm process in its own right that would formalise the dialogue on climate change issues between the G8 and E5 economies.

t r u t h o u t | 06.06

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