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Green groups urge G8 leaders to ignore Bush notthe climate

By Greenpeace International

Edited by Federico Ferrero

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Gleneagles, UK, 6 July 2005

As the G8 summit gets underway in Scotland, environment and development groups are urging Prime Minister Tony Blair and other world leaders to stand up to President Bush and agree a clear way forward for climate protection.

The US is the only G8 country not to have ratified the Kyoto Protocol and the Bush administration has already tried to weaken early drafts of the G8 communiqué, objecting to language that includes statements that the world is warming, human activity is mostly to blame and developed economies must lead the fight against the problem.

"This summit provides an opportunity for leaders to reinforce their commitment to fighting climate change and map out a way ahead but there is a real risk that, in the quest for consensus, President Bush will prevail and we will end up with a weak, compromised statement that could set back climate protection by years," said Stephanie Tunmore of Greenpeace International. "The rest of the G8 countries should insist on a strong, clear message on climate change, even if the result is a 'split' communiqué."

"The US administration must not be allowed to derail international action on climate change," said Tony Juniper of Friends of the Earth (FoE). "If we are to halt climate change and deliver climate justice we need action not words. The eyes of the world are upon Gleneagles this week and they want to see moral leadership on cutting emissions and ending poverty. Tony Blair and other world leaders must be prepared to stand up to President Bush on the issue of climate."

"Tony Blair often talks of the 'special relationship' between the UK and the US. In this case that relationship has clearly let him down. He should cut his losses, abandon Bush and forge forward with an ambitious G8 minus 1 plan of action to save the climate" said Jennifer Morgan, Director of Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF)'s Global Climate Change Programme.

"Climate change is a reality for poor communities in Africa and the longer the G8 stall on taking action the more any progress on making poverty history will be fatally undermined," said Farah la Trobe of Tearfund.

John Lanchbery, Head of Climate Change Policy at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds(RSPB) said: "Climate change is already affecting the natural world, throughout the world, and the impact on wildlife could be catastrophic. Attempts to reduce poverty in Africa and climate change are inextricably linked; temperature rises will bring increasing misery to many Africans and considerably affect African wildlife. There is no option but to recognise the impact of climate and to help the poorest countries adapt to it."

Greenpeace, WWF, FoE, RSPB and Tearfund believe that a strong successful G8 communiqué on climate change would include:

* A clear statement that the G8 leaders accept the scientific evidence for global warming and the fact that the majority of the warming is human-induced, that acknowledges the scale and urgency of the problem;

* A clear political signal and signal to the business community that that the G8 is committed to an expanded system of carbon trading, linked with deeper cuts in emissions thus ensuring continuation of the carbon markets after 2012.

* Agreement to implement the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) plan to help Africa prepare for, and mitigate climate disasters at both a community and national level.

* Commitment that by 2008 all G8 countries' development policies and programmes will be designed to ensure that poor people in developing countries are less vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

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