30 June 2005
Climate change must be a top G8 priority – Barrett
Liberal Democrat MP, John Barrett has called on the UKGovernment to make tackling climate change a top political priority for the upcoming G8 Summit.
Mr Barrett made the call during a Liberal Democrat initiated debate in the House of Commons. It follows leaked documents, which have suggested that any G8 agreement on climate change will be severely ‘watered down’ due to scepticism from the US about the reality of climate change. Recent figures also show the UK Government is failing to meet its own targets to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas.The Prime Minister has been forced to admit that theUKwas likely to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 12.5% by 2010, well below the 20% target.
Speaking after the debate, Mr Barrett said:
“More and more people are realising that climate change is the most serious threat facing the planet and one of the most serious challenges facing the international community.
“It is no surprise that the UK’s chief scientist has called the threat of climate change more serious than the threat of international terrorism.Global warming is not an imaginary or distant threat, it is real and current and must be dealt with as a matter of urgency. The G8 nations at Gleneagles account for 47% of global CO2 emissions. These countries acting together can make a real difference.
“Tony Blair says he plans to make climate change a key priority during theUKpresidency of the G8. However, history will judge him and his Government, not by the words he speaks but by the actions he takes.
“It is time for us to finally see the benefit of the Prime Minister’s so called special relationship with George Bush. After all, the US is by far and away the world’s biggest polluter and is simply not doing enough to reduce its own contribution to climate change.
“The G8 summit must reach a positive agreement on climate change. It is too important an issue to be lost among international squabbles and petty transatlantic rivalries. Put simply, warm words will only lead to a warmer planet.”
The House of Commons yesterday debated the following Liberal Democrat motion:
That this House recognises the serious threat posed to the planet by climate change; welcomes the decision of the Prime Minister to make this a priority for the UK presidency of the G8; notes with concern however the lack of progress being made to secure effective international agreement on the way forward and in particular the wrecking tactics of the present US Administration and the total lack of leverage on this issue by the Prime Minister over President Bush, who is still in public denial of even the basic science; believes that carbon emissions need to be cut by at least 60 per cent. by 2050; further believes that without such action, measures to reduce poverty in developing countries will be severely undermined; calls on the Prime Minister to use the G8 to win support for a successor regime to Kyoto based upon the principle of contraction and convergence, engaging the participation of both developed and developing nations; further believes that he will be in a stronger position to give an international lead if he now tackles his failures in domestic climate change policy, which mean that the UK is now virtually certain to miss its 2010 carbon emissions reduction target and is now in danger of missing even its Kyoto target; and urges him in particular to adopt effective policies to conserve energy within the domestic sector, and to cut emissions within the transport and energy sectors.