Oxfam reaction to G8 agreement on climate change

Published: 7 June 2007

Today the group of G8 countries meeting in Germany announced that they had come to an agreement on climate change. The core elements of the communiqué that emerged on Thursday afternoon were: Agreement to work within the established UN process and to complete negotiations on a post-2012 UN multilateral framework by 2009. They will "consider the commitments" by the EC, Japan, and Canada to cut emissions by 50% by 2050. "Substantial cuts" for all G8 members but no specific numerical emissions reduction targets for US and Russia. No commitment from the G8 as whole to staying below 2C warming.

Oxfam's Senior Policy Advisor, Antonio Hill said: "It is welcome that G8 leaders have endorsed the UN process to tackle climate change and agreed to negotiate a post-2012 framework within this forum. This means that the poorest countries, who are most affected by climate change will have a seat at the table where solutions are discussed.

"It is also welcome that the EU, Canada and Japan have reiterated their individual commitments to halving carbon emissions by 2050, and that other countries have supported the need for cuts.

"However, it is profoundly disappointing that some members, including the world's leading polluter, the US, have failed to sign up to specific targets or even an indicative global stabilization goal. This means that the world is still on track for global warming above 2C – dangerous climate change that will devastate poor countries and massively undermine the fight against poverty.

"After this meeting is over, poor people will still face grave risks associated with catastrophic climate change, including increasingly severe droughts, floods and famines. The eight most powerful countries in the world had an unprecedented opportunity this week to boost global efforts to respond to the threat of global warming and sharply reduce the risks that poor people face. They have taken one step forward, but they should be running by now."

Oxfam added that the G8 should also look to make commitments at this meeting on extra funds to help poor countries adapt to climate change.

Antonio Hill: "The eight countries represented here are the most responsible for global warming and the most able to help poor countries adapt to its impact. On top of agreements on mitigation, we are looking to them to make concrete financial commitments for adaptation.

"Poor countries, particularly those in Africa, will not be able to bear the burden that climate change brings. Conservative estimates put adaptation costs at at least $50bn. The G8 should pay 80% of this."

Oxfam also said that in the remaining hours of the summit the issue of increased aid to help fund basic services such as health and education needed to be addressed. At the time of writing, the reiteration of promises made two years ago at the G8 summit in Gleneagles to double aid to Africa, was still not guaranteed.

The G8 should also indicate their continued commitment to reform of world trade rules to reduce poverty, and their intention to stop pushing damaging free trade agreements on developing countries.

Contact Information

Contacts in Media Center (Germany):
Amy Barry +49 (0)176 68118422;
Tricia O´Rourke: +49 (0) 176 6803 1077;,
Jörn Kalinski: +49 (0) 171 8360 631

Contacts in Rostock (Germany):
Malcolm Fleming: +49 (0) 176 6805 7409;
Beatrice Karanja: +49 (0) 176 6809 417