June 22, 2009

World’s Greatest Polluters Meet In Mexico For Climate Talks

The U.S. summoned environment ministers from the world's largest polluters to meet in Mexico today to expedite a key United Nations climate accord. The U.S. and China, the most industrialized nations, are listed as the greatest environmental offenders.

The Major Economies Forum's (MEF) objective is to assist in forming a new agreement to mitigate greenhouse gases that will ultimately be replacing the Kyoto Protocol upon its expiration in 2012.

The Kyoto Protocol is a UN international environmental treaty intended to achieve "stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system." It is a legally binding commitment to reduce greenhouse gases produced by industrialized nations, as well as general commitments for all member countries.

This will mark the group's third meeting within three months because of stymied global climate negotiations, and a major summit is set for December in Copenhagen intending to produce the new UN accord.

Last week ended twelve days of international climate change talks in Germany, which failed to determine how the burden of future emission cuts will be shared.

Poor nations are requesting steep cuts from the rich countries that are historically the greatest contributors to the environmental issues of today.

They are mostly calling for cuts of around 25-40% improvement on the 1990 levels by 2020. Some nations, including China, have said 40% must be a minimum.

Within industrialized nations, the European Union (EU) has offered a cut of at least 20% from 1990, but Japan and the United States have so far each offered reductions of around 8% and 4% percent.

The MEF was initially launched by US President Barack Obama on the heels of a similar initiative by his predecessor, George W. Bush. Its members already met in Washington and Paris in April and May.

Nations participating in the initiative include Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Sweden and the United States, as well as the 27 nations within the European Union.

According to Mexican officials, there will be representatives from the United Arab Emirates, Norway and Spain taking part as observers.

The talks come as the international community gives its growing for the Mexican proposal to raise billions of dollars to combat climate change through a so-called "Green Fund."

The plan would require all governments to pay in cash a sum proportionate to the size of each nation's gross domestic product, greenhouse gas emissions and population.

Earlier this month, Mexico hosted a two-day event celebrating Environment Day and to discuss the Green Economy Initiative, which Mexico hope will turn environmental action into jobs and businesses.

They celebrated their growing role in the fight against climate change, their incredible tree planting campaign and natural resources management, the United Nations Environment Program said on its website.