Biggest polluters fail to commit to climate action as Major Emitters Forum ends

G8 needs to take leadership on climate solutions at Italy summit

Press release - 24 June, 2009
Greenpeace expressed disappointment today as another round of international climate talks passed without a bold statement from the world’s biggest polluters about the need to take immediate and definitive action on climate change. With a lack of transparency and urgency, the U.S.-lead Major Economies Forum did not yield any firm commitments on battling climate change.

The MEF meeting was the last in the series leading up to the MEF heads of statemeeting that will take place as part of the G8 meetings in L’Aquila, Italy,8-10 July. The G8 countries emit more than 40% of global CO2emissions, despite being home to only 13% of the world’s population.

“This MEF was more of same—lots of talk without action,” said Daniel Kesslerof Greenpeace USA, in Mexico for the meeting. “While scientists continue tosound the alarm, the politicians continue to make excuses.

Absolutely key to protecting the climate is a commitment from theindustrialised world to deeper cuts in emissions and financial and technicalassistance to developing countries to switch to clean energy, stopdeforestation and adapt to the climate change impacts that are unavoidable.

By committing to targets for emissions cuts and financing for developing countries for mitigation, forest protection and adaptation, G8 countries can build trust and confidence and lead the way on global climate action - both for the MEF as well as for the UN negotiations.

Underscoring the lack of action was President Obama’s endorsement today of a weak US climate bill that does not meet scientific scrutiny. The bill has many shortcomings, but perhaps most glaring is the weak short-term target for cutting emissions. The bill calls for reductions of about 4% of 1990 pollution levels, compared to the recommended 40% that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommends.

At the G8 summit, the G8 leadersneed to take responsibility for their role in climate change and agree to:

  • Keeping global temperatures as far below a 2°C increase aspossible, compared to pre-industrial levels, to avert catastrophic climatechange.
  • Global emissions peaking by 2015 and reducing to as close tozero as possible by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.
  • As a group, G8 committing to at least 40% emission cuts by 2020,compared to 1990 levels.
  • Provide the majority of the USD 140 billion per year neededfor developing countries to adapt to – and take action on – climate change, and provide money for forest protection.
  • Immediately establish a funding mechanism to end deforestation and associated emissions in alldeveloping countries by 2020, with key areas  (Amazon, Congo Basin and the Paradise Forests of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea) achieving zero deforestation by 2015.


Earlier this year, Greenpeace released its roadmap for slowing climate change, the Energy [R]evolution, which shows that the US can cut emissions 25% by 2020.

Notes: Daniel Kessler, Greenpeace USA press Officer, + 1 510 501 1779
Gustavo Ampugnani, Greenpeace International Political Coordinator for Latin America, + 52 55 4084 5279