The leaders of the eight major industrialised nations meeting in Germany next week for a wide-ranging summit have been challenged to face up to their global responsibilities by UK church development agencies.
Christian Aid, which represents the cooperation of 40 denominational and ecumenical groups in Britain, says it believes it is crucial that this G8 meeting agrees to the principle of a ‘stabilisation goal’ for atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases, which would limit global warming to 2°C.
Such a clause, says the development, relief and advocacy agency, must be in the final communiqué to show genuine commitment on the part of the G8 countries to reverse the global warming trend.
But to keep warming below 2 degrees, emissions in the rapidly expanding countries of India, China, South Africa and Brazil must also be capped, it suggests.
The rich G8 must therefore take a lead in paying for the difference in cost in these countries between dirty and clean development. This can be done through mechanisms such as carbon taxes and trading.
"If we want these countries to come on board and reduce their emissions we will have to pay for it," explained Christian Aid's spokesperson Andrew Pendleton.
He went on: "This is not aid, it is a payment to compensate them for the damage we have inflicted on the global environment. Developing countries must be allowed to develop economically and not penalised for our mistakes."
Christian Aid has also co-authored a report with Practical Action, Oxfam and Tearfund illustrating why a 2°C global average is the maximum people in developing countries will be able to survive. It will be published tomorrow (Monday 4 June 2007).
Carbon emissions in rich countries are still increasing, and this trend must be reversed rapidly and dramatically.
You can download Christian Aid's 2007 G8 briefing here (*.PDF file)