Archived press release
G8 summit agrees more talk, no action

Gleneagles, Scotland - Friday 8th July, 2005 -- The final statement on climate change, issued at the Group of Eight Summit this afternoon, shows that leaders are still divided and have made no real progress in the fight against climate change.

Friends of the Earth International said that the very small steps made on debt relief and aid for Africa will be further undermined by the failure to address climate change.

The environmental campaign group blamed the US administration for the lack of progress, saying the document offered nothing new, with no commitment to firm action agreed. The group also queried the role of a separate dialogue process outside of the Kyoto Protocol and the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Convention, but said this would be valuable if it aided agreement at UN climate talks in Montreal in December.

Friends of the Earth International Vice Chair Tony Juniper said:

"This is a very disappointing finale. The G8 have delivered nothing new here and the text conveys no sense of the scale or urgency of the challenge. Bush appears to have effectively stalled all progress. The action plan, without any targets or timetables, will deliver very little to reduce emissions, or to roll out renewables to the scale required."

G8 countries currently represent 45% of global emissions of greenhouse gases, but have just 13% of the world's population.

The plan of action issued as part of the statement today contains no targets, timetables or committed funding to address the challenge of climate change. While there are initiatives on renewable power, energy efficiency and a clean energy mix, they lack specific detail.

Tony Juniper continued:

"Despite the growing evidence of human induced climate change and the dangers of its impacts becoming more widely known and understood, the outcomes of this summit leave us very little further ahead. While the leaders carry on talking, the world continues warming."

Friends of the Earth International had hoped to see a plan of action for an immediate emission reduction programme to avoid catastrophic climate change. But the final text fails to recognise the need for global emissions to peak and decline in the next 10-15 years, or suggest a way in which stabilisation can be achieved.

The G8 leaders have failed to rule out nuclear power as a `clean energy technology'.

For those developing countries already facing the dangerous impacts of climate change, no financial assistance or support is offered. Whilst the statement issued yesterday by Brazil, India, South Africa, China and Mexico includes reference to the threat of climate change on their countries, the G8 only mentions providing further access to information and developing scientific capacity.

Tony Juniper said:

"Tony Blair was right to put climate change at the top of his agenda and we warmly welcome the leadership role he is now playing, but what we have here keeps us at the status quo. There is an urgent need to keep on the pressure for action at the crucial climate talks in Canada later this year, and through the British Presidency of the EU that runs to the end of 2005. Tony Blair must use this crucial opportunity to work with other countries to find a way forward".

The G8 has suggested a new mandate for the World Bank to establish financial instruments and develop a clear framework to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy. But this will need to be defined before its contribution can be assessed. Moreover it appears that existing support for fossil fuel development will continue.

In a separate announcement on the global economy and oil, the G8 leaders commit themselves to consider measures to encourage the expansion of refinery capacity.

Tony Juniper concluded:

"Recognition of the need to secure access to energy in developing countries is an important step but does not go far enough. To truly help the fight against the poverty and against climate change, G8 countries needed to immediately introduce public finance for sustainable and accessible clean energy. Instead they continue to support the extraction of coal, oil and gas through bodies like the World Bank."

Action plans and communiques: www.g8.gov.uk

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Published by Friends of the Earth Trust