Ramesh Jaura

BRUSSELS, Jul 10 (IPS) - Legislators from industrialised and emerging countries want the G8 heads of government to address climate change, clean energy and sustainable development when they gather next Monday in St Petersburg.

The appeal coincides with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov's remarks in Moscow that as host of this year's G8, Russian President Vladimir Putin had suggested putting energy security at the top of the summit agenda.

"The objective is to coordinate a strategy, which entails shared responsibility and shared risks and benefits," Lavrov said in an interview with the widely read daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta.

Legislators from 13 countries who met in Brussels Jul. 7-8 at the invitation of GLOBE International (Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment) welcomed the decision of the Russian government to build on the last G8 Summit in Gleneagles by focusing on the issue of energy security.

But they pointed out that energy security and climate security need be dealt with together. "If we do not successfully address both, we risk undermining our development, economic and security goals."

In a statement after two days of intensive discussions at the European Parliament, they said: "Climate security and energy security are inextricably linked. Energy efficiency and diversification of energy sources are key responses to both."

Legislators came from the Group of eight (G8) countries -- Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, the United States, Canada and Japan -- and the 'plus five' comprising Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa.

The call of legislators that form the 'G8 plus 5 climate change dialogue' is based on simple logic: Developing countries are expected to contribute 39 percent of global emissions by 2010, and independent estimates are that in the next 24 years 50 percent of global energy investment will be in developing countries.

"There is no way out. In India we need energy for development and the only way is to find ways to reconcile development needs and environmental imperatives," said former Indian environment minister Suresh Prabhu.

China is confronted with a similar dilemma. But Zhang Wantai, vice-chairman of the environment protection and resources conservation committee of the National People's Congress said that "resources conservation and environment friendly society" were the future national development model.

What can be done at the international level to help ensure low carbon investments? The World Bank's Global Environment Facility (GEF) and Clean Development Mechanism within the framework of the UN Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) are useful and important but almost peripheral given the scale of investment.

"The challenge is to identify practical actions that could make a difference in encouraging low carbon investments in rapidly increasing energy production in emerging and developing economies," says a study by Chatham House (Royal Institute of International Affairs) in London that served as an input for a working group discussions in Brussels.

For the full article, please see IPS News Agency





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