Oxfam reaction to G8 agreement on climate change

Campaigns and Advocacy, Media Releases article written on the 08 Jun 2007

The group of G8 countries meeting in Germany announced an agreement on climate change. The core elements of the communiqué that emerged on Thursday afternoon were:
Agreement to work within the established U.N. process and to complete negotiations on a post-2012 UN multilateral framework by 2009
They will "consider the commitments" by the EC, Japan, and Canada to cut emissions by 50% by 2050
"Substantial cuts" for all G8 members but no specific numerical emissions reduction targets for US and Russia
No commitment from the G8 as whole to staying below 2C warming
Executive Director of Oxfam Australia, Andrew Hewett said: ‘It is welcome that G8 leaders have endorsed the UN process to tackle climate change and agreed to negotiate a post-2012 framework within this forum. This means that the poorest countries, who are most affected by climate change will have a seat at the table where solutions are discussed.
‘It is also welcome that the EU, Canada and Japan have reiterated their individual commitments to halving carbon emissions by 2050, and that other countries have supported the need for cuts.’
‘However, it is profoundly disappointing that some members, including the world’s leading polluter, the US, have failed to sign up to specific targets or even an indicative global stabilisation goal. This means that the world is still on track for global warming above 2C – dangerous climate change that will devastate poor countries and massively undermine the fight against poverty’
‘After this meeting is over, poor people will still face grave risks associated with catastrophic climate change, including increasingly severe droughts, floods and famines. The eight most powerful countries in the world had an unprecedented opportunity this week to boost global efforts to respond to the threat of global warming and sharply reduce the risks that poor people face. They have taken one step forward, but they should be running by now.’
According to Oxfam, the G8 should also look to make commitments at this meeting on extra funds to help poor countries adapt to climate change.
Mr Hewett said, ‘The eight countries represented here are the most responsible for global warming and the most able to help poor countries adapt to its impact. On top of agreements on mitigation, we are looking to them to make concrete financial commitments for adaptation’
‘Poor countries, particularly those in Africa, will not be able to bear the burden that climate change brings. Conservative estimates put adaptation costs at least $50bn. The G8 should pay 80% of this.’
Oxfam added that in the remaining hours of the summit the issue of increased aid to help fund basic services such as health and education needed to be addressed. At the time of writing, the reiteration of promises made two years ago at the G8 summit in Gleneagles to double aid to Africa, was still not guaranteed.
The G8 should also indicate their continued commitment to reform of world trade rules to reduce poverty, and their intention to stop pushing damaging free trade agreements on developing countries.
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