“Unless the G8 sign up to cut emissions by at least 40% by 2020, developing countries will not commit to emissions targets” – that’s the major point of discussion between developed and developing nations, which has (as was to be expected) paralysed the outcome of the Major Economies Forum (MEF). Following yesterday’s G8 declaration, the members of the Major Economies Forum (G8, G5, Australia, EU, the Republic of Korea, Indonesia and Denmark) may not have agreed on a specific target for emissions reductions by 2050 but at least agreed to allow no more than a 2 degrees rise in global temperatures. Reading through the communiqué that was just released in l’Aguila we don’t find many surprises, neither positive nor negative. A little bit on forests, a little bit on adaptation. No doors are closed but real commitment should sound different.
A definitely positive development from yesterday’s declaration is a stronger commitment to leverage financing. Where yesterday’s document related financing for adaptation and mitigation to existing development aid, today’s communiqué stresses that: “Financial resources for mitigation and adaptation will need to be scaled up urgently and substantially and should involve mobilizing resources to support developing countries (…..) Climate financing should complement efforts to promote development in accordance with national priorities and may include both program-based and project-based approaches.”
Yet, non-governmental observers are not entirely satisfied. In the words of WWF’s Kim Carstensen “It’s all about money. Rich countries are telling poor nations: oh poor you. But they avoid commiting to pay their fair share” He adds that [“]wealthy nations should show solid financial commitments and not comforting statements and should replace the blame game with responsible and credible commitments”.
But it is not only the non-governmental sector that recognises the difficulties. President Obama who chaired the meeting, acknowledged a good start but conceded that “progress on this issue will not be easy”. He especially cautioned against cynicism, in front of the immensity of the problem. Some others like CAFOD express it more directly “The G8 could be risking the lives of millions the world’s poorest if there is no agreement on climate in December”.
Bottomline: the outcome probably meets realistic expectations: whoever thought the MEF would do anything more than keeping the door open, i.e. whoever hoped that any substantial progress was to be made without the pressure of the last minute in Copenhagen is probably too optimistic. We also have to consider that without China’s presence moving negotiations towards a more definite outcome was next to impossible. No matter which perspective we take, it is pretty obvious that all sides are trying to push out a definite commitment and to keep the game open until the negotiations at the end of the year. The game continues…..
Read what could be decisive next steps in “What next for the G8“!
By Niel Bowerman, Ruth Brandt, Radhika Viswanathan and Marie Karaisl