Climate change activity grows in US

22 February 2007

A Washington summit organised by the Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment (Globe) group has reached a significant agreement on tackling climate change that includes developing nations.

The summit, between the G8 together with Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa, agreed on the creation of a global carbon market based on a cap-and-trade system.

Although the declaration is non-binding it is seen as a key step in developing a replacement for Kyoto, which they want in place by 2009.

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, meanwhile, has highlighted a “tremendous opportunity” for action over climate change while mooting a successor to Kyoto in meetings with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Blair said the G8 has a chance to create a new post-Kyoto framework when the current arrangements expire in 2012. He added that the next few months were “absolutely crucial,” but that any process must be supported by the US, China and India along with the original signatories to Kyoto. “If we are going to be able to do this then we need to be able to set goals and have mechanisms that are considered fair and make sure that we are transferring the technology to those countries like China and India who are going to grow strongly over the years to come,” said Blair.

With Germany holding the G8 presidency currently, Merkel suggested that technical details of any climate change deal would be worked out during a conference in May, ahead of the next G8 meeting in June.

Any such plan is expected to include proposals for reduction goals, international carbon pricing and the inclusion of developing nations.

Upon conclusion of the Washington forum, US senator Jeff Bingaman, chairman of the senate energy committee said, “For too long, the United States has not been meaningfully engaged in finding solutions to global warming. Now that the debate over the science of climate change is over, this new Congress will lead the way toward finding solutions. I urge the Administration and the G8+5 leaders meeting in Germany this June to read the Consensus Statement that this Forum has produced and to work in earnest to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.”

His comments follow the US Senate energy committee evidence of Sir Nicholas Stern, author of the Stern Review who said that legislators designing a domestic carbon market for the US should make provisions to operate within Europe’s existing cap-and-trade system.

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