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No action on climate change from the G8

Greenpeace executive director Stephen Tindale’s response to the G8 communiqué on climate change

Issue No. 1960

The G8 summit has missed a major opportunity to tackle climate change.

The communiqué states, “Climate change is a serious long term challenge that has the potential to affect every part of the globe,” and that they will act with “resolve and urgency” to reduce emissions.

Yet the leaders have not specified any targets or timetable. In his press conference, Tony Blair said the G8 will meet in November for further discussions and climate change will be a topic for discussion at next year’s summit in Russia.

The scientific community has given an unequivocal signal that radical action is needed to stabilise the climate. The G8 has failed to acknowledge this warning.

The people who will most immediately pay the price for this failure will be the poor in Africa whose lives are already being damaged by the increased droughts, floods and hunger.

Despite spin from the British government it is clear that there has been no change in the US position and it remains alone in resisting the need for action.

Tony Blair wanted to get Bush to commit to urgent action. Instead there has been no real change in the original positions. Bush is isolated from the 12 other countries that have all emphasised the need for tough targets to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The communiqué included a statement affirming that the countries that have already ratified Kyoto would continue to work within that framework. The US remains outside.

Nobody is against dialogue, but there’s no way it’s a replacement for action.

This virtual split means that the next opportunity for real progress will be through the UK presidency of the European Union at the first Meeting of the Parties of the Kyoto Protocol. This will take place in November in Montreal.

European leaders need to implement strict targets to try to stabilise climate change.

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