The Climate Group welcomes G8 "vision" to halve emissions by 2050

9 July 2008

The °Climate Group has welcomed the news from the Hokkaido Toyako Summit in Japan this week that G8 leaders have agreed a long-term target of halving global emissions by 2050 but cautioned that this must just be the beginning of further concerted work over the next 18 months to design and implement a sustainable pathway to achieving this target.

The leaders of the G8 - United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States - said they shared a "vision" of reducing emissions by "at least 50 per cent by 2050".

G8 Leaders said in a joint statement that "common determination" would be necessary to reach this goal and stipulated that all major economies should commit to "meaningful mitigation actions to be bound in the international agreement to be negotiated by the end of 2009" when the UNFCCC meets in Copenhagen. However, G8 countries pledged assistance to major developing economies in the form of technology, financing and capacity-building.

The "leadership role" of developed nations was recognised in the official statement released by the G8 today. In addition to the long-term vision, G8 leaders agreed that each of their countries "will implement ambitious economy-wide mid-term goals in order to achieve absolute emissions reductions" and recognised that "mid-term goals and national plans to achieve them" were also essential. The statement also said that developing economies such as India and China must play a part according to "common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities".

Steve Howard, CEO, The Climate Group, said: "The G8 has helped send a signal that the major countries are serious about a global deal and about backing the roll out of energy efficiency and low carbon technology such as Carbon Capture and Storage. Despite hoping for more, the level of G8 agreement this week exceeds our expectations. The challenge now is to build momentum for Copenhagen."

The G8 communiqué is consistent with several recommendations made in Breaking The Climate Deadlock Report that was presented by Rt Hon Tony Blair to Prime Minister Fukuda, including: agreement on a 2050 goal of at least halving global emissions; the need for interim targets; the importance of developed country leadership accompanied by equitable contributions by developing countries; the need for high levels of financial support for developing countries for mitigation and adaptation; the role of carbon markets and the focus on energy efficiency and carbon capture and storage.

The °Climate Group also welcomed the joint statement by the leaders of the world's major economies - The Declaration of Leaders Meeting of Major Economies on Energy Security and Climate Change - but was concerned by the lack of specific commitments contained in the text.

Steve Howard said: "Given the importance of all major economies in shaping a low carbon future, constructive engagement between all parties must continue around key 'building blocks' so that an effective global deal can be reached at the UN summit in Copenhagen."

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