Saturday, July 11, 2009

G8 Summit at L'Aquila- We expected more from the G8 Nations

The G8 First World countries meeting at L’Aquila, Italy (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, UK and the US) were also joined at the summit by leaders or representatives from the G5 group of emerging economies (Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa) .

The leaders of the G8 leading industrial countries have agreed to try to limit global warming to just 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial levels by 2050; that G8 nations are to cut carbon emissions by 80% by 2050; and that World carbon emissions should be cut by 50% by 2050 (Refer: ).

This outcome has been criticized by the UN Secretary General Ban-ki Moon as insufficient and inconsistent with urgent scientific advice (Refer: ).
All eyes were on the U.S. delegation since President Barack Obama's pledge to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 injected momentum into the Copenhagen talks. His predecessor, George W. Bush had rejected the previous Kyoto deal. But nothing came out as an alternative proposal.

"It's not enough and the United States needs to do more," Yvo de Boer, the United Nations' top climate change official responded . "Without leadership from the G8 countries an international response to climate change will not happen. This meeting needs to point the way."

Scientists have said industrialized countries as a whole needed to reduce carbon emissions by between 24 and 40 percent from 1990 levels to avoid severe impact from climate change.
De Boer said the political will existed to seal a deal in Copenhagen and the economic crisis provided a chance to promote green technology as part of stimulus packages -- something, he said, developing nations like China and Korea had done.

The grossly inadequate response of the G8 nations is a matter of concern for the developing world. It has been estimated that fewer than 1 billion people will survive global warming this century due to unaddressed, man-made climate change, this constituting a prospective climate genocide that will kill 10 billion innocent people including 6 billion infants, 3 billion Muslims, 2 billion Indians and 0.3 billion Bangladeshis.
The voice of the developing countries was put forward by the PM of India, Dr.Manmohan Singh at the G8 Summit.
“The major responsibility lay with the industrial nations, and this was a responsibility that they had acknowledged and undertaken under the UNFCCC. The developing countries wanted the industrial nations to commit themselves to sharp and significant reductions in emissions by 40 per cent below the 1990 (the date of the Kyoto protocol) levels by 2020. This could form the basis for a more ambitious target over the longer term. The developing nations were faced with the problem of adaptation to climate change and India itself was spending 2 to 2.5 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product on adaptation, including to extreme climatic events and disasters and the impact on agriculture. Even if emissions were reduced to zero, the accumulated emissions would continue to impose a long term burden on the developing countries. Based on this perspective, the developing countries have been emphasising the two pillars of financing mitigation and adaptation actions and the transfer of technology.”

Thus, as of 2008, “annual per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution” in units of “tonnes CO2-equivalent per person per year” (2005-2008 data) is 2.2 (India), 5.5 (China), 6.7 (the World), 11 (Europe), 27 (the US) and 30 (Australia; or 54 if Australia’s huge Exported CO2 pollution is included)

The G5, representing China, Brazil, India, Mexico and South Africa, in their declaration called upon the industrial countries to reduce their emissions by 40 per cent in the medium term, by 2020. While the G5 and the other developing countries felt that a long term goal without an intermediate target would not be credible or scientific, the industrial nations argued on grounds of pragmatism and scientific feasibility that it may not be possible for them to commit to such a medium term goal.

Coming back to the Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh's address at the Summmit:

'This has not been a crisis of our making, but we have had to bear its consequences. The slowdown in the advanced economies has affected our exports, strengthened protectionist sentiments and impacted credit and capital flows,' Singh said before leaving for the G8 summit in L'Aquila, Italy.

'We would therefore like to see a concerted and well-coordinated global response to address systemic failures and stimulate the real economy,' he added.

The developing countries were worst-affected by climate change that was brought on by two centuries of industrial activity and high-consumption lifestyles in the developed world, Singh said.

'They (industrial economies) have to bear this historical responsibility,' he said, adding that India would participate in international negotiations based on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Bali Action Plan.

Global Warming is already responsible for 300,000 deaths a year and is affecting 300m people, according to the first comprehensive study of the human impact of global warming.It is high time that all the nations come together act for the sake of humanity.

The world is at crossroads. We can no longer afford to ignore the human impact of climate change. This is a call to the negotiators to come to the most ambitious agreement ever negotiated or to continue to accept mass starvartion, mass sickness and mass migration on an ever growing scale.


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