Outside of Mexico City, delegates from the world's 17 biggest economies are meeting this week to further negotiate international climate agreements. Issues on the table include funding for forest protection, mid-term and long-term emission reduction targets, and financing for adaption and mitigation. The outcomes from these talks remain in doubt and other questions fester, like to what will the U.S. commit to?For an effective climate deal at December’s Copenhagen Climate Summit, the world’s wealthiest nations, the G8 countries, who are at the core of the MEF, need to take the lead both at MEF and when they meet in L’Aquila, Italy for the G8 Summit next month. The G8 countries emit more than 40% of global CO2 emissions, despite being home to only 13% of the world’s population.
This is really a question of trust. By committing to targets for emissions cuts and financing for developing countries for mitigation, forest protection and adaptation, G8 countries can build trust and confidence and lead the way on global climate action - both for the MEF as well as for the UN negotiations which will culminate in Copenhagen in December. But if they don't show leadership, the rest of the world will have little incentive to take any sort of action.
At the last MEF, Germany and France called for strong short-term commitments, along the lines of what the world's leading scientists recommend to fight against climate change. But the U.S. balked, and the slow progress of the U.S. Congress on a climate deal and its refusal to support the policies that keep climate change as far under 2 degrees C as possible must be leaving the rest of the world questioning the U.S.'s commitment.
Last week, the White House released a report that found that climate change is already creating changes in the United States by threatening the Southwest with heat waves, the Atlantic Coast with dangerous hurricanes and the middle of the country with flooding.
More on Copenhagen:
Copenhagen Climate Congress to Synthesize New Science on Climate Change
It’s a Long Road to Copenhagen: Here’s What Obama Needs to Do So That The US Leads the World on Climate Change