Climate conference ends in Germany

Three-day talks between the environment ministers of the G8 and five developing economies have come to an end. The climate change was the main issue during the last day.

As the environmental ministers’ meeting came to a close in Potsdam, German Minister Sigmar Gabriel hailed it a success.

“I think that the first meeting of the G8 environment ministers with representatives of five large newly industrialized countries has been a big success. Overall this was due to a commitment of the developing countries to the discussions,” he said.

Mr Gabriel played host to representatives from the G8 member states plus five key emerging economies in a three-day conference that focused on biodiversity and climate change, with all agreeing those are the two biggest threats facing Earth.

The working session on climate and energy lead to two main conclusions. All nations taking part agreed they must commit to a joint effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions. And financial compensation should be provided to developing countries, who fear protecting the climate could pose a threat to their economic development.

However the idea did not win the support of America. Stephen Johnson, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said he believes there are different ways to reach a common goal.
 
“There are a number of tools. Targets of one tool; some of the mandatory programmes that we are putting in place in the United States as well as voluntary programmes are another tool. And it was recognised by all the ministers that there are a variety of ways to achieve the common goal of reducing the greenhouse gas emissions not only in the U.S. but around the globe,” Mr Johnson argued.

Overall a tone of general satisfaction from delegates was evident, even though protesters from “green” groups still say there is too much talking and not enough concrete action. Ministers will try to counter that at the forthcoming G8 meeting where climate protection plans are set to be presented to the states leadership.

2007 is a decisive year for International climate protection, with the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol set to end in 2012. The conference in Potsdam has allowed for intensive preparations for the G8 summit in June but also for other international climate negotiations set to take place throughout the year.