"2 degrees" of progress from world leaders welcomed Media Release

Jul 10, 2009 - 1:33pm

Universal agreement by world leaders of the need to avoid two degrees of global warming and a commitment by China and India to build on already significant actions to reduce emissions growth, was important progress from Thursday’s night’s Major Economies Forum (MEF) in Italy, The Climate Institute said today.

The Australian Government’s leadership on establishing a Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute (CCS) was also welcomed. The development of CCS, and other technologies, would be critical for achieving emissions reductions and for building trust between developing and developed countries, said Erwin Jackson, The Climate Institute’s Director of Policy and Research.

“The next step now is for this leadership on technology to be backed up by development of financing plans, designed to unlock private and public sector funds, which remain the elephant in the room,” Mr Jackson said.

“Absolutely key for developing countries is access to clean technology and financing to enable them to follow a low-carbon development pathway.”

At the MEF in L’Aquila, held on the fringes of the G8, key developing countries of China and India pledged to build on their already significant action to address climate change by delivering meaningful reductions in emissions growth below business as usual.

“China and India already lead the way in areas such as investment in renewable energy and  their further commitments on emissions reductions means the argument doesn’t ring true that Australia should delay effective action on domestic policies because developing countries aren’t moving,” Mr Jackson said.

There was universal acceptance among world leaders of the science of climate change and the need to hold global temperature increases below two degrees over pre-industrial levels and this will require substantial action to reduce emissions and build low carbon jobs and industries from all countries.

Also at the MEF, G8 countries agreed to reduce emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 but there were no commitments on emissions reduction targets by 2020 which was disappointing, Mr Jackson said.

The G20 Summit in Pittsburgh in September will be the last scheduled meeting of world leaders before Copenhagen and where the key issue of financing will again be on the agenda.

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