Behalf Of UNNews@...
Sent: Wednesday, July 09, 2008 8:02 AM
Subject: UN AGENCY SAYS G-8 LEADERS 'MISSED OPPORTUNITY' ON CLIMATE
UN AGENCY SAYS G-8 LEADERS 'MISSED OPPORTUNITY' ON CLIMATE CHANGE
New York, Jul 9 2008 11:00AM
Commenting on the outcome of the Group of Eight (G-8) Summit in Japan,
the head of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said the
world's richest countries had shown insufficient leadership on climate
"We are under pressure to act. We have no time left to waste," said UNEP
Executive Director-General Achim Steiner. "However, I think the G-8
leaders missed an opportunity to provide the kind of signal that would
accelerate the international negotiation process,"
Mr. Steiner noted that the G-8 countries' agreement to reduce carbon
emissions by at least 50 per cent by 2050 was a positive outcome of the
Summit, but said that it did not go far enough.
"I think the G-8 delivered what it could. But in terms of what the world
needs, what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has
asked for and what is necessary in view of the Copenhagen meeting in
2009 the results fall short," he said. "The South African Minister of
the Environment called it empty slogans - where is the substance?"
"The G-8 Summit has not delivered enough leadership. We have some 500
days until we meet in Copenhagen to reach a global agreement," the
Executive Director said, referring to the meeting next year where the
goal is to agree on a new global climate change treaty under the UN
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), once the first phase of
the Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012.
"We have less than seven years to stabilize emissions globally. The
absence of short- and medium-term targets and commitments by the leading
industrialized nations is a shortfall of the Summit," Mr. Steiner added.
"We are beyond the rhetoric of climate change. We must now put numbers
on the table. We must also give developing nations the clear conviction
that industrialized nations are taking their responsibilities
seriously," he said.
Mr. Steiner noted that a number of countries including Germany, Norway
and the United Kingdom, as well as South Africa and Indonesia, are now
committing to targets.
"But when we look at the implementation of emission reduction targets
under the current Kyoto Protocol, a number of industrialized nations are
not even delivering on these relatively small targets. So what incentive
is there for developing nations to make major investments if developed
nations are not willing to take these significant steps forward?
"We will continue to be stuck until all industrialized nations commit to
firm targets - ones to be met by 2020 not in 42 years time," he said.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who attended the Summit in Hokkaido,
welcomed the G-8's statement on climate change, food security and
development as a good start, but also stressed the need for speedier
action in the days ahead.
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