Monday, June 17, 2013

Sign of the times: G8 Summit drops climate change from agenda

Climate change has been dropped from the agenda during this week's G8 Summit, and at the G8 summit´s website, climate change is "conspicuous in its absence. That did not used to be so. Back in 2007, 2008 or 2009, for example, climate was a key issue these countries fought over."

G8 Summit sidelines climate change agenda

World leaders unlikely to discuss global warming at two day summit, as Downing Street insists it remains fully committed to securing global deal in 2015
By Jessica Shankleman 17 Jun 2013
Climate change will be sidelined during this week's G8 summit, Downing Street has confirmed, despite a last ditch attempt from French President Francois Hollande to ensure the eight nations deliver a strong political signal to curb carbon emissions.

Fears that climate change had been dropped from the agenda of the two-day meeting in Northern Ireland were confirmed today, despite a pledge in last month's Queen's Speech that the issue would remain on the list of priorities for the UK's presidency this year.

A Downing Street spokeswoman told BusinessGreen that climate change was not on the agenda for the two-day meeting between leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the USA and the UK. Instead the focus will be on the conflict in Syria, trade talks, and measures to enhance tax transparency and tackle evasion.

"Obviously, they are only around for a short time, so they can't discuss everything," she said.

However, she insisted climate change had not been dropped from the agenda of the UK's year-long G8 presidency, as it will be discussed by foreign ministers during a meeting in July. International talks on the topic are expected to intensify over the next 24 months in the run up to a major UN summit in Paris in 2015, which is scheduled to deliver a flagship agreement on tackling emissions that will be formalised as a treaty in 2020.

"The G8 already has processess in place for climate change being taken forward, and [the issue] was already highlighted in April," the Downing Street spokeswoman said, referring to the most recent G8 meeting of foreign ministers. "It has not fallen off the agenda and we continue to be comitted to the UNFCCC process and trying to secure a binding agreement in 2015."

It remains to be seen whether climate change could still secure a reference in the G8 communique due to be released at the end of this week's summit, mirroring the vague commitment to renewed action on climate change contained in the Queen's Speech last month. But the decision to drop climate change from formal summit agenda will anger both the French, who are due to host the 2015 UN summit, and the Germans who previously lobbied the UK to include climate change for discussion this week.

"Yet, if you look at the G8 summit´s website, climate change is conspicuous in its absence. That did not used to be so.
Back in 20072008 or 2009, for example, climate was a key issue these countries fought over. Now it reportedly took heavy lobbying from Germany and France for Cameron (who promised to run the  "greenest government ever") to even agree to talk about climate change at all. With such bad preparation and lack of political capital being invested in getting the G8 to send a leadership signal on climate, it's hard to see how the summit can produce anything but meaningless platitudes."

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