Home

Tiempo Climate Newswatch

G8 Commitments on Climate Change and Africa



Printer-friendly

Featured sites

The Blue Carbon Portal brings together the latest knowledge and resources on the role of oceans as carbon sinks.

WalkIt provides walking routes between user-defined points in selected British cities, with an estimate of the carbon savings.

Joto Afrika is a series of printed briefings and online resources about adapting to climate change in sub-Saharan Africa.

And finally,

The CoolClimate Art Contest presents iconic images that address the impact of climate change.

More featured sites...

About the Cyberlibrary

The Tiempo Climate Cyberlibrary was developed by Mick Kelly and Sarah Granich on behalf of the Stockholm Environment Institute and the International Institute for Environment and Development, with sponsorship from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

While every effort is made to ensure that information on this site, and on other sites that are referenced here, is accurate, no liability for loss or damage resulting from use of this information can be accepted.

The latest summit of the leaders of the G8 nations took place in July 2005, with Africa and climate change high on the agenda. Newswatch editor Mick Kelly reports.

The leaders of the Group of Eight nations have agreed that "climate change is happening now, that human activity is contributing to it, and that it could affect every part of the globe."

The final communiqué from the G8 summit, which took place July 6-8th 2005 in Gleneagles, Scotland, in the United Kingdom, contains a commitment "to take urgent action to meet the challenges we face." It reaffirms the G8 nations commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its ultimate objective, the stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that prevents dangerous interference with the climate system.

"The Gleneagles Plan of Action which we have agreed demonstrates our commitment. We will take measures to develop markets for clean energy technologies, to increase their availability in developing countries, and to help vulnerable communities adapt to the impact of climate change," claim the G8 leaders. They concluded that dialogue, technological development and marketing, rather than emissions targets, were the means to address the climate problem.

In referring to climate change as a "long-term challenge that has the potential to affect every part of the globe" [emphasis added], those responsible for negotiating the final text of the Gleneagles communiqué distanced the climate problem from other "clear and present dangers", ensuring American compliance.

Prior to the meeting, the national science academies of the G8 nations and others, including China, India and Brazil, had issued a strong statement calling on their governments to take immediate action to limit global warming. "The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify prompt action," according to the statement. "It is vital that all nations identify cost-effective steps that they can take now, to contribute to substantial and long-term reduction in net global greenhouse gas emissions."

The lack of any summit commitment to a concrete programme for emissions reductions disappointed many observers. Tony Juniper, from Friends of the Earth International, commented that "despite the growing evidence of human induced climate change and the dangers of its impacts becoming more widely known and understood, the outcomes of this summit leave us very little further ahead. While the leaders carry on talking, the world continues warming." Lord May of Oxford, President of the Royal Society, believes that "at the heart of the communiqué is a disappointing failure by the leaders of the G8 unequivocally to recognize the urgency with which we must be addressing the global threat of climate change."

"We haven’t made any progress, but at least we haven’t gone backwards, which was what we feared," commented John Lanchbery of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

The Gleneagles Plan of Action on Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Energy covers a series of commitments on:

  • transforming energy use;
  • powering a cleaner future;
  • promoting research and development;
  • financing the transition to cleaner energy;
  • managing the impact of climate change; and,
  • tackling illegal logging.

The World Bank has been asked to create a new framework for mobilizing investment in clean energy and development.

Speaking at the close of the summit, British Prime Minister Tony Blair welcomed the Gleneagles commitment to "a new Dialogue between the G8 and the emerging economies of the world to slow down and then, in time, to reverse the rise in harmful greenhouse gas emissions." The Dialogue will begin on 1st November 2005 with a meeting in the United Kingdom.

The G8 leaders committed to boost global development aid, by US$50 billion annually by 2010, with US$25 billion extra a year for Africa. All debts owed by eligible heavily-indebted poor countries to the International Development Association, the International Monetary Fund and the African Development Fund should be cancelled.

Live 8 logo

Live 8, a series of rock concerts around the world, signalled public pressure for a firm commitment by the G8 leaders to eliminating poverty in Africa

Rock musicians and activists Bob Geldof and Bono, who have been backing a public campaign to press for action on poverty in Africa, broadly welcomed the deal. "Six hundred thousand people will be alive to remember this G8 in Gleneagles who would have lost their lives to a mosquito bite," said Bono. Geldof referred to the outcome as a "qualified triumph". He gave the leaders marks of 10/10 for their pledges on aid and 8/10 on debt relief. "A great justice has been done," he said. We are beginning to see the lives of the poor of Africa determined not by charity but by justice."

The G8 leaders made the following commitments on Africa:

  • to provide extra resources for Africa’s peacekeeping forces so that they can better deter, prevent and resolve conflicts in Africa;
  • to give enhanced support for greater democracy, effective governance and transparency, and to help fight corruption and return stolen assets;
  • to boost investment in health and education, and to take action to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB and other killer diseases; and,
  • to stimulate growth, to improve the investment climate and to make trade work for Africa, including by helping to build Africa’s capacity to trade and working to mobilise the extra investment in infrastructure which is needed for business.

While agreeing that poor countries must decide and lead their own development strategies and economic policies, extra resources would be conditional on nations having "strong national development plans" and a commitment to "good governance, democracy and transparency," in the words of the chair's summary.

The conditionality of the commitments will remain a source of contention. As the African Forum and Network on Debt and Development has commented: "Debt cancellation is being treated as a question of charity and not global justice... Conditionalities still remain a big deterrent to economic emancipation of the poor countries chosen to benefit from the deal."


Further information
All summit documents, the statement by the national academies and a statement by Paul Wolfowitz, President of the World Bank are available on-line. The Tiempo Climate Cyberlibary lists websites related to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

News sources

 

Bright Ideas

GE cuts solar costs

General Electric plans to cut solar installation costs by half

Project 90 by 2030

Project 90 by 2030 supports South African school children and managers reduce their carbon footprint through its Club programme

Smart street lighting

Bath & North East Somerset Council in the United Kingdom has installed smart LED carriageway lighting that automatically adjusts to light and traffic levels

Longwood Gardens

The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the American Public Gardens Association are mounting an educational exhibit at Longwood Gardens showing the link between temperature and planting zones

Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers

The energy-efficient Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers hotel is powered by renewable and sustainable sources, including integrated solar photovoltaics and guest-powered bicycles

El Hierro

El Hierro, one of the Canary Islands, plans to generate 80 per cent of its energy from renewable sources

Remarkables Primary School green roof

The green roof on the Remarkables Primary School in New Zealand reduces stormwater runoff, provides insulation and doubles as an outdoor classroom

Weather Info for All

The Weather Info for All project aims to roll out up to five thousand automatic weather observation stations throughout Africa

SolSource

SolSource turns its own waste heat into electricity or stores it in thermal fabrics, harnessing the sun's energy for cooking and electricity for low-income families

Wave House

The Wave House uses vegetation for its architectural and environmental qualities, and especially in terms of thermal insulation

Mbale compost-processing plant

The Mbale compost-processing plant in Uganda produces cheaper fertilizer and reduces greenhouse gas emissions

Frito-Lay Casa Grande

At Casa Grande, Frito-Lay has reduced energy consumption by nearly a fifth since 2006 by, amongst other things, installing a heat recovery system to preheat cooking oil

More Bright Ideas...

Tiempo Climate Newswatch
Updated: April 12th 2013