30 May 2005

Leaked G8 document exposes lack of commitment to tackling climate change

The environmental group Friends of the Earth has criticised a leaked draft statement for the upcoming G8 summit for failing to set specific targets or timetables to reduce greenhouse gases from the highly industrialised countries.

"The alarm bells on climate change are ringing, but the world's richest nations aren't listening," Catherine Pearce, Friends of the Earth International's climate campaigner, said in a statement Friday.

The British government, which is hosting the summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, from July 6-8, played down the significance of the 14-page document, posted on the Internet Wednesday by a British environmentalist.

A spokeswoman for Prime Minister Tony Blair said the document was an old draft.

"No conclusions should be drawn prior to the summit," she told AFP.

The document states that "the world's developed economies have a responsibility" to tackle climate change.

"The G8 therefore pledge to take action to promote a fundamental... change in the way we produce and use energy," the leaked document read.

Friends of the Earth charged that the statement lacked "specific targets and timetables for reducing greenhouse gases from G8 nations" and failed to recognise the "major impact that G8 countries have had" on climate change.

"Fine words are not enough," Pearce said, adding that "G8 countries represent just 13 percent of the world's population, but account for 45 percent of greenhouse gas emissions."

The group demanded that the G8 countries - Britain, the United States, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Russia - agree "for specific, substantial and timetabled cuts in their domestic emissions of greenhouse gasses."

Source: www.iol.co.za


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