World Legislators Warn G8 Must Take the Lead on Climate Change

Legislators from around the world called on G8 nations on Friday to take the lead on climate change by slashing their carbon output and promising hundreds of billions of dollars to help poorer countries adapt.

One hundred parliamentarians from rich and poor countries gathered in Italy — where the G8 club of industrial nations is due to meet next month — said time was running out to clinch a deal before a make-or-break UN climate summit in Copenhagen.

The December summit is due to draft a replacement for the Kyoto pact on climate change, which expires in 2012. Developing countries, which stand to bear the brunt of severe weather changes, say carbon cuts offered by rich nations are not enough.

“It’s stand and deliver time for the G8 as far as climate change is concerned,” said Stephen Byers, ex-British trade minister and head of the Global Legislators Organization.

“Major developing economies are looking for leadership from the G8,” he said, urging rich nations to link climate change to their recovery packages from the current economic crisis.

A draft resolution from the meeting, due to be signed on Saturday, called on developed countries to pay €90 to€140 billion [$125 to $194.2 billion] a year between 2010 and 2020 to help developing countries cope with the impact of climate change and curbing emissions.

The document said developed countries should put this money on the table as soon as possible to allow developing countries time to respond in negotiations and to build a domestic political consensus for their own carbon cuts.

Parliamentarians singled out the European Union for failing to keep a pledge to hammer out a common position by spring 2009. “The breaking of this promise undermines the EU’s position as a leader and further erodes the trust between developed and developing countries,” the draft document said.

At UN-sponsored climate negotiations in Bonn on Friday, 183 nations made progress on talks towards a climate change deal. However, UN officials said the cuts offered by developed countries including the United States were roughly equivalent to only a 12 percent reduction from 1990 emissions levels.

China and many developing nations want the rich to cut by at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 to avoid the worst of global warming, set to spur more droughts, floods, rising sea levels, disease and extinction of species of animals and plants.

“Developed countries should know that developing nations need financial and technological support from developed countries,” said Guangtao Wang, chairman of the environmental protection committee of China’s National People’s Congress. “This forum has a most important role in the common efforts to achieve that aim,” he said.

(Writing by Daniel Flynn; Editing by Charles Dick)