Legislators call for decisive action on climate change

Senior legislators from the G8+5 countries were meeting in Rome on Friday ahead of the G8 summit to call on leading nations to take decisive action on climate change.

The forum, organised by Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment (Globe), consists of members of Parliaments, international experts and business leaders who have gathered ahead of the G8 summit to negotiate policy changes on environmental issues, including climate change, ecosystems, energy security and land use.

They are expected to call on the G8 to immediately announce their emission cuts and agree on a $2-billion contribution from the US to help developing countries adapt to climate change.

Legislators from China, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and India would play a key role in ensuring that developing countries concerns were addressed.

Two South African legislators—Independent Democrats member of Parliament Lance Greyling and chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Minerals and Energy Eugene Nhlanhla Ngcobo—were scheduled to attend the forum. However, Ngcobo arrived late, while Greyling did not attend at all.

Greyling told the Mail & Guardian Online on Friday that “the problem was that the Italian Parliament insisted that the invitation to the conference be sent to the Speaker of [the South African] Parliament, who would then decide which delegates would attend.

“I was waiting for the Speaker to give me the go-ahead to attend and, if I had been told that I had to go, I would have gone. There is another conference in Copenhagen [later in the year] and I am hoping to attend that because I have been a participant in the past.”

Globe president and British MP Stephen Byers said the forum’s objective was to finalise positive recommendations to present to the G8 summit in July, and consider a successor to the Kyoto protocol.

“We legislators will be laying down a challenge to the G8 to stand and deliver on climate change. Since these are not formal negotiations, we have the freedom to push the envelope further and give our governments more space to tackle environmental issues,” Byers said.

He highlighted the important role of developing countries in climate change negotiations, and stressed the need to make inroads into tackling climate change now, instead of waiting for the United Nations Copenhagen conference in December.

“Negotiators from the developing world are privately telling me that unless there are big commitments now from the developed countries, we are not going to get a deal at Copenhagen — if we treat this like a trade negotiation and wait until Copenhagen to makes these commitments, it will be too late to create the political conditions under which developing world leaders can agree on an ambitious deal,” said Byers.

Qudsiya Karrim

Qudsiya Karrim

Qudsiya Karrim is deputy online manager of mg.co.za. She was previously editor of Voices of Africa, the M&G’s blogging platform. She’s also a journalist, social media junkie, mom, bibliophile, wishful photographer and wannabe chef. She has a love-hate relationship with the semicolon and doesn’t care much for people who tYp3 LiK3 ThI$. World peace is important to her, but not as much as a 24/7 internet connection. Read more from Qudsiya Karrim

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