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For release: July 9, 2009

G8 Meetings Show That Canada Must Step Up With Climate Financing

L’Aquila, Italy — A declaration issued today by the leaders of the world’s largest economies shows that negotiations for a new global climate deal cannot succeed without stronger commitments from countries like Canada for financial support of climate action in developing countries.

The failure of most G8 countries to make meaningful financing commitments in L’Aquila, coupled with a lack of progress on emission reduction targets for 2020, stalled work at a joint meeting of developed and developing nations. Along with progress on stronger targets, new financial support is critical to ending the gridlock and getting on track for a strong global agreement this December in Copenhagen.

President Obama announced today that finance ministers will be asked to report on their progress on climate financing at the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh in September.

“Today’s declaration shows that we can’t succeed in Copenhagen unless rich countries show leadership on targets and financing. These are make-or-break issues for the Copenhagen talks, and there’s less than six months left to reach a deal,” said Graham Saul, executive director of Climate Action Network Canada. “Canada needs to stop stalling and come to the table with specific financing commitments before the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh in September.”

Poorer countries need significant financial support from developed countries to adapt to global warming and to cut their own emissions. Canada is the world’s 8th largest emitter of greenhouse gas pollution and the world’s 14th largest economy, so it has both the responsibility and the capacity to make a strong contribution. Canada’s current 2020 target, which is equivalent to just three per cent below 1990 levels, falls far short of the emission cuts needed to avoid dangerous climate change.

“Canada has committed to pay its fair share of the financing that poorer countries need. Now that we’ve taken the first step, the federal government should state how much needs to be spent and explain how it plans to raise the funds,” said Clare Demerse, associate director of climate change with Pembina Institute. “Our analysis indicates that Canada’s fair share is about $2 to $6 billion a year — less than the cost of a one per cent cut to the GST.”

“Unfortunately, it feels like the glaciers are moving faster than some G8 leaders on this issue, including Canada,” said Martin von Mirbach, climate change advisor with WWF-Canada. “There is still hope for success in Copenhagen but in order to make progress leading developing countries need to step up and provide the financial support that poorer countries need urgently.”

“Once again, we have had a lot of talk and little action from Canada and the G8. To end a stalemate in international climate negotiations, the G8 needed to make a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020,” said Dave Martin, climate and energy coordinator for Greenpeace. “Stephen Harper has given lip-service to the importance of fighting climate change, but has opposed meaningful greenhouse gas reductions in Canada.”

The Major Economies Forum (MEF) on Energy and Climate is a U.S.-led initiative that brings together the world’s 17 largest economies with the goal of generating political leadership for a successful outcome at the UN climate talks to be held in Copenhagen this December. MEF leaders met on July 9 as part of the G8 summit in L’Aquila, Italy.

Climate Action Network Canada - Réseau action climat Canada is a nation-wide coalition of 50 environmental, faith, development, aboriginal, health, and youth organizations committed to making action on climate change by Canada a reality.

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Today’s MEF declaration is available from,0.pdf.

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