Blair confident of practical energy-saving measures on global warming
Saturday 15 July 2006
Tony Blair hopes to force climate change back onto the agenda at the G8 summit - even if only in private talks with other leaders.
Environmentalists have been horrified by the document that Russia has put forward as the main item for discussion tomorrow, when leaders of the world's richest countries will assemble in St Petersburg. They see it an invitation to the big oil and gas producers to carry on polluting, ignoring the progress made at Gleneagles a year ago.
Catherine Pearce, Friends of the Earth International climate campaigner, said: "This action plan is a backward step which will mean a return to dinosaur-like dependence of fossil fuels. If the world's richest countries are serious about tackling climate change and energy security, they must heavily invest in energy efficiency and clean, renewable energies." But Tony Blair and other European leaders believe they have won an important victory by persuading Russia to include practical action on climate change as part of the discussion, alongside the talk on how to guarantee stable markets for big energy exporters such as Russia.
Top of the list of practical measures will be light bulbs. As The Independent highlighted two weeks ago, lighting emits 518 million tons of carbon a year. The International Energy Agency believes that figure could be cut by 38 per cent if the world switched to energy-efficient lighting. Other proposals are that multinational companies should be prevented from sellingtelevisions and other electrical goods which can be switched to standby; and that energy-wasting set-top boxes should be phased out.
Yesterday, Mr Blair met Canada's new Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, in London. There were fears that Canada might pull out of the Kyoto process after failing to meet its Kyoto targets, but Mr Harper insisted that he is committed to fighting climate change.
In St Petersburg, Mr Blair hopes to involve nations that have opposed agreements on climate change. "If we want to get an agreement that allows us to move forward internationally after that time, it has got to be an agreement that has America, China and India in it, as well as the other major economies," he said.
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