Monday

21st Jun 2021

Brussels hoping for climate commitment at G8

  • G8 leaders will also meet with emerging countries this week in a bid to reduce differences before a vital meeting in Copenhagen this December (Photo: EUobserver)

The European commission will be pushing for clear climate change commitments from leaders of the Group of Eight industrialised nations who will meet in L'Aquila, Italy, later this week (8-10 July), but the final statement may not include mid-term targets say officials.

"We are only 153 days from [the United Nations climate change meeting in] Copenhagen, time is passing, so I really want to create a sense of urgency," said European commission president Jose Manuel Barroso on Monday (6 July).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The G8 countries are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK and the US, with Spain also invited to this week's G8 meeting. The commission has participated fully in the meetings since 1981.

Specifically the EU executive wants the meeting's final statement to agree on the need to limit global temperature rises to 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, a threshold that scientists have identified as crucial.

It is also pushing for the leaders to agree on the need for a 50 percent reduction in global emissions by 2050 on 1990 levels, something that would necessitate an 80 percent emission cut from developed countries.

"This is the most important issue, to have binding targets from the developed countries. Without binding targets we will not convince the developing countries to give their contribution to this global response," said Mr Barroso.

However, environmental NGOs are concerned that despite the possibility of setting long-term targets, specific mid-term targets will not be agreed.

"It's like saying we'll go to the summit of Everest but we aren't going to provide any oxygen or climbing ropes," Greenpeace spokeswoman for the G8 Beth Herzfeld told EUobserver.

"The G8 leaders themselves have the opportunity to move the process forward and show that they are serious to lead on climate change. In order to do that we must have mid-term emissions' cut targets of 40 percent by 2020," she said.

A draft G8 statement produced as recently as last week included mid-term targets but a senior commission official working on the file suggested the current draft no longer contains the specific targets, instead referring to the need to achieve a "robust mid-term reduction".

Another key issue will be the willingness of developed countries to provide financial support to emerging economies to tackle rising emission levels.

"As the largest contributors to past emissions, developed countries have a special responsibility to take the lead but this is not going to be enough. The emerging economies for example …must also join in the effort," said Mr Barroso.

Greenpeace is calling on the G8 to agree to provide $106 billion (€76bn) of the estimated $140 billion (€100bn) emerging nations will need annually to tackle climate change.

Food security

The issue of food security is also emerging as a major issue on the G8 agenda, with the commission setting up a €1 billion food facility last year for the poorest farmers in the developing world using unspent EU funds.

"I hope L'Aquila will move us further forward again. I expect us to agree on a statement for global food security, setting out an agenda for the coming years at the global level," said Mr Barroso.

G8 countries are likely to back a recent US call for a "coordinated approach" to food aid and development.

Last week US deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs Michael Froman said the proposal and the money involved would build on a global partnership programme on food security launched at last year's G8 meeting in Japan.

Kerry resets climate relations before Glasgow summit

John Kerry, the US special presidential envoy, was in Brussels to discuss how to tackle climate change with the European Commission. His appearance also marked a major shift in relations after the previous US administration under Donald Trump.

Commission: Pioneering Nordics' energy mix 'example' to EU

The Nordic electricity market is an example of successful market integration plus climate action, as the share of sustainable energy keeps growing, the European Commission said. However, the decarbonisation of the transport sector remains a challenge.

Investigation

How Energy Treaty 'shadow' courts prolong EU's fossil age

The treaty enables companies to claim billions in compensation from states in front of international arbitration tribunals, if they feel unfairly treated by the states' energy or climate policies.

Feature

Adriatic Sea 'risks turning into a water desert'

The Adriatic Sea risks turning into a water desert, experts warn. Overfishing, bottom trawling, pollution, and climate change are seriously threatening the biodiversity of the Adriatic.

EU's 2021 fishing quotas to exceed scientific advice

EU minister for fisheries have agreed on fishing opportunities for 2021, with provisional quotas for the fish stocks shared with the UK. However, experts warned that some of these quotas will lead to overfishing "with detrimental effects on fish populations".

EU faces long wait for full vaccine supplies

The EU is still several months away from having enough vaccines to inoculate its 450 million people, with Pfizer and BioNTech, its principle suppliers, aiming for September for delivery targets.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. Too soon to lift EU sanctions on Burundi, NGOs warn
  2. EU to wage economic war on Belarus dictator
  3. EU commission takes stand against Danish asylum law
  4. Air pollution in many EU cities 'stubbornly high'
  5. EU leaders discuss Turkey, Russia, migration This WEEK
  6. Pandemic exposed corruption in some EU health systems
  7. The European Court of Justice vs German Constitutional Court
  8. AstraZeneca must deliver 50m doses by September or face fines

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us