Washington, D.C. – Climate change is going to be a major topic of discussion this week at the G8 meeting. To help G8 policymakers focus on combating climate change with meaningful policy proposals that could help developed and developing nations alike cope with the onslaught of global warming, the Center for American Progress asked several of our Staff and Senior Fellows to present the key issues they felt would best explain the complexity of the challenges ahead alongside a set of clear solutions. These columns, excerpted below with links to the full articles, lay the path towards making a real difference on climate change.
The Center for American Progress is one of many groups petitioning President Bush to take action on these issues.
The fundamental injustice of global warming is this: The people least responsible for the greenhouse gases emissions that cause climate change will pay the biggest price in economic costs and human tragedy. The global poor, particularly in Africa, face daunting environmental challenges due to global warming. The G8 have an obligation to ensure that developed nations responsible for the build up of greenhouse gases help those least developed nations that how face the onslaught of rising temperatures, erratic and severe weather patterns, drought, floods, water stress, and dramatic reductions in agricultural production. The United States can make a difference by targeting international investments toward innovative, low-carbon energy sources in developing countries.
Global warming has failed to muster a remotely adequate response from the nations of the world, which rely instead on large, slow-moving, UN-sponsored conventions that do too little too late. That is why we propose the creation of an E8—a compact forum of leaders from developed and developing countries who can cut through the bureaucratic clutter and give ecological crises the top-level attention they deserve. The new E8 would bring together a small group of leaders from the United States, the European Union, Japan, Russia, China, India, Brazil and South Africa with the aim of short-circuiting bureaucratic logjams and producing concrete results. An E8 would be able to shine a public spotlight on core ecological issues, serve as a focal point for the mobilization of civil society; and facilitate a more integrated treatment of global environmental issues, both within and among governments.
President Bush needs to be pushed (and pushed hard) by the other members of the G8 to confront the facts about climate change and the dire need to do a lot of things about it. Yet the other leaders of the G8 will do themselves and the planet no favors if they do not link the discussions about climate change with the need to boost the energy security of developed and developing nations. The Bush administration has demonstrated a willingness to acknowledge the existence of these energy security challenges but has failed to implement a plan to meet them. At the G8 meetings this week, other leaders of industrialized democracies should urge the United States to display the global leadership needed to ensure fighting climate change and promoting energy security go hand in hand.
Critics on both sides of the Atlantic have prematurely ridiculed the nascent European Union Emissions Trading Scheme, or EU-ETS, despite the fact that Phase 1 was intended to be a learning period to work out the glitches and entice major greenhouse gas emitters on board. The lessons learned will help Europe improve Phase 2 of the EU-ETS, and, combined with our previous experience with cap-and-trade here in the U.S., will prove instrumental as we move forward designing and implementing our own nationwide cap-and-trade program.
As the leaders of the world’s leading industrialized nations gather this week at the Group of Eight summit on Germany’s Baltic Coast, an agreement to move forward on the World Trade Organization’s Doha round of multilateral trade negotiations appears to be within reach. Yet any WTO deal on Doha will hinge on the members of the G8 achieving consensus on agriculture and, more importantly, on an end to the tiresome “blame game” between the United States and the leading members of the European Union. The members of the G8 need to demonstrate collective global leadership, especially the Bush administration, which has yet to commit to the hard work necessary to push the Doha Round to a successful conclusion. In particular, the administration needs to transform its rhetoric on agriculture into reality to produce real change down on the farm and in world trade.