Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

G-8 to Take Up Climate Change

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

G-8 to Take Up Climate Change

Article excerpt

The international squabble over climate change - who's to blame and how to deal with it - is coming to a boil as many of the major players prepare to meet in Germany next week.

In essence, Europe and Japan want stricter controls on greenhouse gases and a faster timetable for reducing them. Major developing countries, China and India, say advanced Western industrialized nations need to make the first cuts; and the United States increasingly looks like the Lone Ranger as it resists diplomatic efforts to join in a coordinated plan to battle global warming.

The differences became apparent earlier this week when the environmental group Greenpeace leaked documents "showing the United States has raised serious new objections to a proposed global warming declaration" for next week's Group of Eight summit, according to the French press service AFP.

Germany is hosting the G-8 meeting in Heiligendamm June 6-8. The G-8 consists of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, Britain, and the United States, with the 27-nation European Union (EU) participating as well.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to secure a major climate change deal, including agreement to slow the rise in average temperatures this century to 2 degrees Celsius, a cut in global greenhouse-gas emissions by 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, and an increase in energy efficiency in power generation and transportation of 20 percent by 2020, the BBC reported.

But the US has raised objections to a draft communique prepared for the summit, reports the BBC and other news sources, quoting documents first released by Greenpeace.

"The changes strike out entire sentences and significantly reduce the certainty with which the statement addresses climate change," reports the BBC. In red ink, American negotiators wrote:

"The US still has serious, fundamental concerns about this draft statement.... The treatment of climate change runs counter to our overall position and crosses 'multiple red lines' in terms of what we simply cannot agree to.... We have tried to 'tread lightly' but there is only so far we can go given our fundamental opposition to the German position."

China and India have joined the US in opposing strict international agreements to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Said Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, following a meeting this week with EU officials in Hamburg, Germany, as reported by AFP:

"Our position is that we are a developing nation, and climate change is not the doing of developing countries, though every country has to do what it can to help the environment....

"China's greenhouse emission per capita is lower than in the developed world, and we still have a substantial number of people living below the poverty line, so we have to strike a balance between development and protecting the environment. …

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