Sunday, June 03, 2007
Climate change burning issue at G8 summit
Paris, June 03:
George W Bush's 11th-hour initiative on climate change has severely roiled international waters, threatening to plunge the G8 summit of industrialised economies starting Wednesday into a stormy debate over how best to keep the planet from overheating.
The US President's call for a "new framework" in which the world's biggest carbon polluters will set long-term goals for curbing greenhouse gases was especially unsettling for summit host German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is seeking to forge a binding pact to cap world temperature rises.
Currently president of both the G8 and the European Union, Merkel reacted to Bush's statement by drawing a line in the sand.
Keeping negotiations on reducing global carbon emissions within the existing United Nations structure, she insisted, was "non-negotiable".
Bush said he intends to expand on the Asia-Pacific partnership, a technology-oriented, multilateral organisation -- including China and India -- set up by the United States in 2005.
Merkel also seems determined to anchor two other climate change objectives in a joint G8 communique: cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent compared to 1990 levels before 2050, and holding global temperature rises to two degrees celsius by century's end.
"I cannot negotiate on the two degrees," Merkel told der Spiegel days ahead of the three-day summit in the northeastern German resort of Heiligendamm.
The UN's top panel of climate scientists has predicted that increases beyond that threshold could unleash catastrophic consequences ranging from an increase in violent storms to severe drought to rising sea levels.