LONDON: British Prime Minister Tony Blair said on 18 February there was a real chance industrialised countries could agree the outline of a deal to succeed the Kyoto Protocol on curbing greenhouse gas emissions at a June summit.
Britain put global warming at the top of the diplomatic agenda during its presidency of the Group of Eight (G8) club of industrialised nations in 2005 and Blair is pushing for a breakthrough before he leaves office this year.“I think there is a real change of mood in America, for reasons of energy security, as well as climate change, people know we’ve got to act,” Blair told BBC television.
“I think there is a real chance of getting outline agreement this year at the G8 to a proper stabilisation goal for the climate, a framework within which we set a carbon price ... and ... technology transfer,” he said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, presiding over Germany’s twin presidencies of the G8 and the European Union, said last week climate change was a top item on the agendas of both.She said there would be a G8 conference in May to discuss the technical details so an agreement on issues such as climate change could be worked out ahead of the G8 summit in June.
Blair repeated on18 February that getting the United States— which pulled out of Kyoto in 2001— and China and India on board was key to striking a deal.
Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa will attend the June summit as part of the G8’s “outreach” programme, along with members Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Russia and the United States.Blair has said this means the meeting will be an ideal forum to thrash out a deal which could have global acceptance.
“The whole idea is to create the circumstances in which America, China and India are part of the new deal so that once the Kyoto Treaty expires you’ve then got something in the international community,” he said.Kyoto runs until 2012 but took two years to negotiate, eight more to come into force, and does not include United States, China and India.
Blair said setting a carbon price was essential to give business, industry and nations an incentive to reduce their dependence on fossil fuel. He also said transfer of technology to China and India to tackle climate change was vital.