Major economies need to deliver major action

Washington, DC – Leaders of the world’s major economies meeting in Washington must urgently address the  action rich countries will take on global warming in order to revitalize international climate talks and tackle the serious climate impacts facing vulnerable developing countries, said the international development organization Oxfam International today.

“We commend President Obama’s personal efforts and commitment to addressing the global climate crisis, said David Waskow of Oxfam. “His leadership is vital if this meeting is going to make a real difference on the emissions reductions and adaptation financing that is so critically needed.”

The first meeting of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate is taking place in Washington on April 27th and 28th with the participation of G8 countries along with Australia, Brazil, China, Denmark, the European Union, India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, and South Korea. This Forum is the first in a series of meetings to be held in preparation for a Heads of State meeting at the G8 meeting in Italy this July.

“We hope this important group of countries will develop a shared vision of a global economy that spurs innovation and creates jobs, while tackling the climate challenge,” said Waskow. “But these economic powers must also allow a place at the table for poor developing countries who are already suffering disproportionately from climate change impacts.”

While the Forum is an important place for the largest economies to discuss their policies, participants must respect the interests of the all countries who must be a part of a new global climate agreement. Over 180 countries are participating in ongoing negotiations towards a new global climate deal, only a fraction of which will be represented at this Forum.

“The poorest countries are at the frontline in the battle against climate change, but won’t be at the table in Washington,” said Waskow. “Forum participants must commit to help bring about a comprehensive global climate strategy that will help poor countries, who are most at risk, cope with the impacts of global warming. This can begin with a commitment by the Forum’s developed countries to provide $2 billion from 2009-2012 to fully fund implementation of urgent adaptation plans through the vastly underfunded Least Developed Countries Fund established under the UNFCCC.”

Given the growing impacts of global warming on developing countries, Oxfam International is calling for developed countries as a group to take domestic action to cut their emissions by at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2020 and 90% by 2050. Oxfam has also estimated that at least $50 billion a year is needed to help poor countries cope with the negative impacts of climate change.

The Forum takes place as Members of the US Congress debate new legislation to that includes provisions critical to delivering an international climate treaty in Copenhagen in December 2009, including support for adaptation in developing countries, clean energy investment, and support for the protection of forests.

“Helping countries adapt to changes in the climate will not only save lives, but can also spur economic growth and security,” said Waskow. “Investing in climate preparedness can be an engine for growth, creating diverse new markets for technologies and services to help vulnerable communities build resilience to climate change impacts.”

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