Environment deal at G8 that ignores science is unacceptable

Commenting ahead of the summit of the Group of Eight leading industrial nations, Liberal Democrat Leader Ming Campbell warned the G8 leaders that they should not seek to play politics with the issue of climate change by reaching compromise solutions that go against scientific advice.

In particular he warned that any attempt by the United States to circumvent global talks that will take place under the auspices of the United Nations in December would be disastrous.

As Africa will also be a key focus of the Summit, Ming stressed that it is in developing countries where the impact of global warming is felt the most.

He called on the leaders at the summit to meet their obligation to Africa and the developing world by supporting an international ‘Leapfrog Fund’ which would provide resources to facilitate the development of low carbon technologies.

The facts:

  • 14 countries in Africa are subject to water stress or water scarcity and a further 11 will join them in the next 25 years
  • The half-century long trend of failing rainfall is set to continue – the 2002-3 drought resulted in a food deficit of 3.3 million tonnes and an estimated 14.4 million people needing assistance
  • Africa’s costal areas already experience erosion, flooding, and subsidence. It is estimated that 1/3 of Africa’s coastal infrastructure could be submerged by 2080 including Guinea, Senegal, the Gambia and Egypt

At a meeting of activists and supporters in Northampton today, Menzies Campbell said:

“At his last meeting of the G8 leaders the Prime Minister must avoid the temptation to do a compromise deal on the environment for the sake of his legacy.

“A compromise could put the global negotiations on replacing Kyoto at risk and more importantly could take us past the threshold of unacceptably dangerous climate change.

“It is essential that the Prime Minister gives his commitment to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius and does not allow the United States to circumvent the global talks due to take place in December.

“Going above 2º would cause chaos for most of the world. In Africa and other developing countries, in particular, it would lead to prolonged droughts and famine, major flooding in coastal areas and millions of people displaced, dying and destitute.

“The G8 countries have an obligation to prevent this apocalyptic scenario by supporting an ‘International Leapfrog Fund’ which can help develop low cost renewable energy technologies in these countries.

“Any compromise deal that ignores science is unacceptable.”

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