International climate politics - what's going on?

You could be forgiven for being a bit confused with what is happening politically on climate change.

To clarify the situation - here is our 'Friendly Guide' to international climate politics.

G8 - What happened?

Bush didn't budge...

Tony Blair was lobbying hard to get climate as one of the key issues at G8. Sadly, President Bush blocked all attempts to make progress on climate at the meeting.

...but climate received a boost...

The good news is that Tony Blair's actions weren't entirely in vain. The G8 meeting helped to raise awareness of climate change - both with the public, and also amongst MPs. This is helping us to build support for The Big Ask.

...and more climate talks are planned

The G8 announced a new 'dialogue' between the G8 countries and ten other countries - including Brazil, China, India and Mexico.

Such a meeting could create a forum to informally develop ideas - and build confidence - before the next Kyoto Protocol meeting.

The 'Asia-Pacific Partnership'

Recently, a new 'Asia-Pacific Partnership' hit the headlines.

The US and Australia have joined with China, India, Japan and South Korea to announce that they were going to work together to share cleaner technologies.

Well, it sounds good...

After all, sharing technologies such as renewables must be a good thing right?

...but is it a sneaky way to avoid taking real action?

Well, when the text contains words such as 'civilian nuclear power' and 'clean coal' - alarm bells start to ring.

Ad-hoc agreements such as these are no substitute for actual reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Beyond the Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol is the only international treaty that legally commits countries to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases they produce.

Countries are currently commited to making certain reductions by 2008 - 2012. The cuts that countries must make after that date have yet to be decided.

This will be the focus of the next Kyoto Protocol meeting, which will take place in December.

The Asia-Pacific Partnership must not distract the US and Australia from commiting to this next phase of the Kyoto Protocol. They must agree to tough cuts of their emissions.