G-8 Comes to Agreement on Emission Reductions | National Union of Public and General Employees

G-8 Comes to Agreement on Emission Reductions

The G-8 club of industrialized countries comes to a general agreement to cut their emissions 50% by 2050, compared to 1990 levels. The US insists China and India come on-board for the successor agreement to Kyoto.

Ottawa (08 June 2007) - After days of concern about dead end discussions and US refusal to take action, the G-8 leaders summit has reached an agreement. The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, was quoted as being “very satisfied” with this “major step forward”.

Lacking details but to the point, the 8 industrialized countries who are part of the G-8 club, agreed to cut their emissions by 50% by 2050, compared to 1990 levels. In Canada's case that means an 85% reduction below today's emissions. Leaders also agreed that limiting global temperature increases to 1.5-2ºC this century was important.

There is some dispute as to whether a 50% reduction will be sufficient to hold CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at 550 parts per million – which would likely correspond to a global temperature rise of 2ºC.

Harper continued to make excuses for Canada's lack of hard caps and admitted failure to meet Kyoto targets, by referring to our growing population, growing economy and growing energy industry. As one of the G-8 nations, Canada has committed to the longer term 50% reduction.

The G-8 also agreed that the United Nations was the proper body to set the framework of the next international agreement and move discussions forward. The current Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012, but work towards a more comprehensive agreement that includes all players needs to begin soon.

The US has stated that it will be actively involved in the post-Kyoto framework but insists that China and India, as two of the top 15 emitters not bound by Kyoto, must become involved. Both China and India have begun to explore targets for reducing emission; China is aiming for 20% below 2005 levels by 2010, and India is aiming for 25% below current levels by 2020.

G-8 protesters remained unheard, held back kilometres away from the meetings. A Greenpeace boat was capsized by security while trying to deliver a petition calling for action on climate change.

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