No deal for developing world at environment conference
By Wolfgang Bunse and Thomas Mueller Mar 17, 2007, 19:55 GMT
The Ministers of Environment of the G8 countries and five threshold countries met in Potsdam to debate on climate change. EPA/NESTOR BACHMANN
Potsdam, Germany - A discordant note was sounded when the conference of G8 environment ministers and five of their counterparts in the developing world came to end in Potsdam near Berlin Saturday.
US delegation leader Stephen Johnson made clear the United States would not cooperate on the 'balance of interests' between the industrialized countries and the developing world sketched out by German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel.
Johnson also made clear the US would not join the Emissions Trading Scheme that has allowed companies in energy-intensive industries in Europe to trade carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions since 2005.
'We regretted this very much,' Gabriel said as the conference, held under the auspices of the German G8 presidency, came to an end.
But he was more positive about the decision to invite Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa to join the proceedings in the historic Cecilienhof Palace on Lake Jungfernsee.
The contact with these countries had been 'very open, very honest and very free,' Gabriel said.
Throughout the conference, which opened formally on Thursday, Gabriel stressed that developing nations needed to be assured that demands from the industrialized world for them to combat climate change would not hinder their growth and would receive due recognition.
The German environment minister noted that Brazil had reforested large parts of the Amazon that had been cleared but had received only the 200 million euros (260 million dollars) in aid pledged by Germany.
Originally, 1.2 billion had been pledged by the international community.
Gabriel said that the failure of the US to give their share of financial compensation meant that the G8+5 was unable to present a joint statement ahead of the G8 June summit in Heiligendamm, northern Germany.
Conference head Gabriel was nevertheless able to put forward several points of agreement at the final press conference in Potsdam.
These are to go forward for further discussion in Heiligendamm and at the UN conference on climate change in Bali, Indonesia, in December, to take forward the process initiated by the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as host in Heiligendamm, will be left with the task of reconciling the interests of the G8 countries with those of the developing world, due to be represented by the same five countries.
The 13 countries together are responsible for two thirds of the world's CO2 emissions.© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur