Environmental conservation and the fight against climate change have taken on increasing importance during the G8 Summits held over recent years. As the attention paid by the scientific community and world public opinion to the threats inherent in the greenhouse effect has mounted, the 8 countries’ Heads of State and Government have imparted considerable political thrust to fostering a global agreement on the climate.
The fight against climate change will also have positive repercussions in terms of meeting the Millennium Goals and promoting a sustainable development model.
It is up to the entire international community to limit the impact of global warming, such as the rise in temperature, the melting of the glaciers and the soil degradation. The industrialised countries must take the lead in this process and make a decisive contribution to the reduction of CO2 emissions; at the same time, however, it is essential for the emerging economies and the developing countries to do their share by reducing greenhouse gas emissions themselves, in line with a balanced sharing of responsibility.
The Negotiating Process
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC, adopted at the Rio de Janeiro Conference in 1992 forms the chief international negotiating forum. In the run-up to the expiry of the Kyoto Protocol, in 2012, the United Nations Convention is conducting the negotiating process with a view to drafting a long-term agreement on climate change to replace the current Protocol and involve the largest possible number of countries. A significant step in this direction was achieved by the Bali Conference in December 2007, with the adoption of the Bali Road Map, in which the parties undertook to draft the future global agreement on climate change before the Copenhagen Conference in December 2009.
The United Nations negotiations are being flanked by the G8 process and the Major Economies Meeting (MEM). This latter, which was launched at the G8’s Heiligendamm Summit in 2007, takes in the G8 countries, the G5 (China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico) and Australia, Korea and Indonesia, a format that accounts overall for over 80% of world CO2 emissions.
As the end-of-year Copenhagen Conference approaches, the 2009 G8 provides an important opportunity for fostering the full involvement of all the main countries and contributing to the success of the United Nations negotiations on climate change.