G8 set to discuss climate change

By Ed King

The UK government appears to have backtracked on efforts to block climate change from the G8 agenda, after the Queen’s Speech confirmed the issue would be discussed at the summit.

“In assuming the presidency of the G8, my government will promote economic growth, support free trade, tackle tax evasion, encourage greater transparency and accountability while continuing to make progress in tackling climate change,” the Queen said.

In March RTCC revealed that a key aide to Prime Minister David Cameron had rejected moves from Germany and France to make the issue one of the meeting’s key talking points.

The increasing effects of rising temperatures were discussed at a G8 Foreign Ministers’ meeting in April – with a statement from the US, UK, Russia and Japan acknowledging it as a “key global challenge”.

RTCC asked the Prime Minister’s office if this represents a change in policy, and will update this story when we get a response.

The 2013 Queen’s Speech viewed through a ‘Word Cloud’ (Pic: Wordle)

The speech also announced the Government would: “continue with legislation to update energy infrastructure” through the current Energy Bill.

This aims to oversee around £100bn of investment in energy infrastructure by 2020, but is facing opposition from a cross party coalition of MPs who want to see a 2030 decarbonisation target added.

The UK is currently lobbying fellow EU member states to increase the bloc’s 2020 emission reduction target from 20% to 30%.

It has support from France and Germany but is facing resistance from countries like Poland which rely heavily on coal for electricity generation.

EU climate ambition is expected to be vital as the 195 parties to the UN climate convention start work on a binding emissions set to be agreed in 2015 and implemented in 2020.

Sourcing adequate flows of finance to enable developing countries to invest in mitigation and adaptation strategies is another critical issue that all G8 members need to address.

Last week UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey said countries needed to “continue to raise ambition and match it with action”.

Writing in the Independent newspaper, he said: “Tackling climate change is not a luxury for the good times: for good and bad times it has become a necessity – but necessity is the mother of invention.

“This means taking tough decisions and challenging others – as well as ourselves – to do the right thing and be as ambitious as we can be as the world moves forwards to 2015.

“The UK has been applauded for playing a strong role in the international negotiations and we will by no means let up on our efforts.”

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