Summary of G8 Summit 2005 in Gleneagles, Scotland

At the G8 Summit held on July 6-8, 2005, in Gleneagles, Scotland, leaders of the Group of 8 countries issued a joint communiqué and a “plan of action” on Climate Change, Clean Energy, and Sustainable Development.

In the communiqué, the leaders declared that “climate change is a serious and long-term challenge that has the potential to affect every part of the globe” and that human activities “contribute in large part to increases in greenhouse gases associated with the warming of the Earth’s surface.”   Borrowing language first used by President Bush in announcing his climate policy in February 2002, the communiqué further said that, “While uncertainties remain in our understanding of climate science, we know enough to act now to put ourselves on a path to slow and, as the science justifies, stop and then reverse the growth of greenhouse gases.”

The leaders agreed to launch, and invited other countries to join, a Dialogue on Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development to “address the strategic challenge of transforming our energy systems to create a more secure and sustainable future.”   More specifically, the Dialogue is to monitor implementation of the Gleneagles plan of action and “share best practice between participating governments,” with a report due at the 2008 G8 Summit hosted by Japan.

The leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and its ultimate objective of stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases at levels that avoid dangerous human interference with the climate system.   They agreed to “move forward…the global discussion on long-term co-operative action to address climate change” at the UN Climate Change Conference later this year in Montreal.

The leaders of Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa also participated in the Summit.   In a joint declaration, they called for stronger efforts by developed countries to reduce emissions and to provide financial and technical assistance to developing countries.

The plan of action adopted by the G8 leaders identifies a range of activities to promote research, information exchange, and cooperation on energy efficiency, renewable and other clean energy sources, adaptation to climate change, and illegal logging.   The action plan sets no specific targets and commits no new funding.  Elements include:

  • Reviewing building codes, appliance standards, and vehicle standards to identify best practices and opportunities for coordination;
  • Extending the use of labeling on vehicles and appliances to raise consumer awareness of energy consumption;
  • Encouraging multilateral development banks to expand the use of voluntary energy savings assessments of proposed investments in energy-intensive sectors; explore opportunities to increase investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies; and work with borrower countries to identify less greenhouse gas-intensive growth options.
  • Inviting the World Bank to develop and implement “best practice” guidelines to assess and manage climate risks associated with new investments in climate-sensitive sectors;
  • Adopting, where appropriate, market-based policy frameworks to finance the transition to cleaner energy; and
  • Promoting dialogue on potential policy approaches such as long-term sectoral, national or international policy frameworks; market-based instruments for the development and deployment of technologies; and the trading of credits for greenhouse gas reductions.