July 4, 2009

Climate Officials Address Differences Prior To G8 Summit

In a fervent attempt to resolve differences on issues of the world's carbon emissions, officials from a 17-member, majority comprised body are coming together on the eve of a July 8-10 summit of the G8 to hold critical discussions, Reuters accounted.

The meeting of the Major Economies Forum (MEF) was called to reduce the gap between wealthy nations and developing countries like India over long-term goals on global warming and emissions, a collection of eight diplomats and climate change officials told the press.

The central Italian city of L'Aquila will host an additional meeting for leaders of the MEF nations, scheduled on July 9.  MEF nations account for 80 percent of global emissions, warranting a much needed coalition to combat these issues.

Rumors linger that they could take a decisive advancement in dealings for a U.N. climate change pact, due to be signed in December.

However, an agreement into a joint declaration is likely to be postponed because officials continue to deliberate over differences, principally over the size of reductions in carbon emissions and the base year for comparisons.  Rather, the dealings may produce a chairman's summary of countries' views.

"If there is no agreement...then what we will have in the end is a chairman's summary. The meeting (on Tuesday) has been called to see if there can be an agreement of some sort," said a senior Indian official involved in the negotiations.

Last month, officials gathered in Mexico to discuss the current draft statement.  Discussion surrounded the issue of the omission of a base year for the emissions reduction goal, Indian diplomats said, and disagreement resulted over language and nuances on long-term goals.

India, and other developing nations, suggest a base year of 1990 because this would force wealthy nations to reduce their emissions more sharply, granting them more carbon space to increase their economies.  But wealthy nations, like Japan, are urging for a more recent base year.

A technical meeting will be conducted in Rome to concentrate on differences over the base year and emissions goals, European diplomats confirmed.

Despite an agreed "vision" held by G8 countries to reduce carbon emissions of 50 percent by 2050, developing nations argue it is too little and should be 80 percent.

"We are not keen on numbers like 50 percent reduction by 2050 by (rich) countries, which will freeze the existing imbalance in the distribution of the carbon space," Dinesh Patnaik, a top Indian negotiator, told the press.

"The Europeans and the United States were not too keen (on Tuesday's meeting) as they feel it will only add further pressure. But India insisted as they don't want anything in brackets brought to the table in L'Aquila," said one European G8 source.


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