Bush meeting undermining UN climate talks

27 September 2007

US proposals for only voluntary emissions targets will fail to fight climate change

Brussels, 27 September 2007 - Friends of the Earth Europe has warned that US President George Bush aims to undermine the ongoing UN climate negotiations by hosting a meeting of major greenhouse gas emitters in Washington today and tomorrow. Bush is expected to promote only voluntary targets for cutting emissions, instead of legally binding targets within a Kyoto-based international agreement.

Attending Bush's 'major economies' meeting will be 16 countries, which together account for around 90 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, plus EU officials. [1]

Sonja Meister, Climate Campaign Co-ordinator at Friends of the Earth Europe said:
"President Bush is play-acting as a front runner on fighting climate change - in reality he continues to refuse to sign the Kyoto Protocol. The voluntary measures the United States will propose will simply not achieve the necessary emissions reductions. The only way to prevent catastrophic climate change is through binding commitments within the United Nations framework."

Global emissions must be at least halved by 2050 to stay below a temperature rise of 2 degrees. Friends of the Earth Europe insists that the only way to achieve this is to set concrete and binding targets for industrialised countries to reduce their emissions by at least 30 percent by 2020 and by about 90 percent by 2050. These targets should be set within the framework of a United Nations agreement, based on the architecture of the current Kyoto Protocol. Industrialised countries must also fund adaptation measures for the developing world.

The United States' greenhouse gas emissions have risen by 15 percent since 1990, with 7 billion tons of CO2 emitted every year. In spite of this trend, President Bush continues to demand that a post-Kyoto agreement for climate protection should not contain any binding commitments to cut emissions.

"The major economies meeting is the latest attempt by the Bush administration to send the world the wrong way in the global fight against climate change. The European participants at this meeting must clearly commit to binding targets for industrialised countries to cut their emissions, and to keeping the process within the framework of the United Nations climate negotiations," added Ms Meister.

Friends of the Earth and campaigners from other environmental groups will be protesting outside the "major economies" talks in Washington on Friday September 28th by holding "wrong way" road signs to signal to President Bush that he needs a new approach to fighting global warming. Groups organising the rally include the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Energy Action, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Oil Change International, SustainUS, the U.S. Climate Action Network, and the U.S. Climate Emergency Council.




[1] For invitee list, see http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/08/20070803-8.html

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