Or so says the BBC. Predictably enough though there are no hard targets: as far as I can tell all that is promised is a statement promising to strongly consider at least a halving of global emissions by 2050. But I don’t want to be too snarky until I’ve read what was actually said and agreed, rather than just the press take on it all.

There is a page for the summit and a news page and even a story entitled Breakthrough on climate protection which says

The leading industrialised nations (G8) aim to at least halve global CO2 emissions by 2050. The Heads of State and Government agreed at Heiligendamm to achieve this goal together as part of a UN process. The big emerging economies are also to be incorporated in the process.

But what exactly have they signed up to, and what did Bush actually say? Does anyone know? I can find the summit documents but can’t see anything there.

[Update: Grist covers this but doesn’t appear to even notice that they are only reading the press releases. Via another Grist story I get pointed to this as the relevant text, which I’d already read, without spotting what was there. But looking more attentively:

Fighting Climate Change

48. We take note of and are concerned about the recent UN Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change (IPCC) reports. The most recent report concluded both, that global
temperatures are rising, that this is caused largely by human activities and, in addition,
that for increases in global average temperature, there are projected to be major
changes in ecosystem structure and function with predominantly negative consequences
for biodiversity and ecosystems, e.g. water and food supply.

49. We are therefore committed to taking strong and early action to tackle climate
change in order to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that would prevent
dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Taking into account the
scientific knowledge as represented in the recent IPCC reports, global greenhouse gas
emissions must stop rising, followed by substantial global emission reductions. In setting
a global goal for emissions reductions in the process we have agreed today involving
all major emitters, we will consider seriously the decisions made by the European
Union, Canada and Japan which include at least a halving of global emissions by 2050.
We commit to achieving these goals and invite the major emerging economies to join us
in this endeavour.

52. We acknowledge that the UN climate process is the appropriate forum for negotiating
future global action on climate change. We are committed to moving forward in that
forum and call on all parties to actively and constructively participate in the UN Climate
Change Conference in Indonesia in December 2007 with a view to achieving a comprehensive
post 2012-agreement (post Kyoto-agreement) that should include all major

And so on. Fine words, except for the lack of commitment. Does para 48 mean that Bush now accepts GW is anthro, I wonder? -W]


  1. #1 Magnus W

    Don’t know but heard that it’s nothing comiting and that Bush will gather a bunch soon to set the aim…

    BTW, this is interesting?

    [I think its interesting. I’m not sure though whether its true, or part of the latest IPCC report -W]

  2. #2 Brian Schmidt

    I think Bush has pretty much acknowledged AGW, although some members of his administration and some Republican presidential candidates haven’t.

    [Has he? come on, cites please! -W]

    Where it says, “We commit to achieving these goals and invite the major emerging economies to join us
    in this endeavour,” I think that refers only to “setting
    a global goal for emissions reductions” and NOT to “the decisions made by the European Union, Canada and Japan which include at least a halving of global emissions by 2050.” All it commits to re halving is to “seriously consider” that as the global goal. I agree with William – no breakthrough yet.

  3. #3 Alexander Ac

    Kind of sceptics as GW Bush is, will not be convinced about AGW, whatever the evidence… this is just political gesture, just to calm down “crazy Europeans”. No *tough targets* – not real motivation to actually to so. Still worse, Cina and India are not included so global reduction by 50% by 2050 is highly unlikely, given current state of technology, and given current trends…

  4. #4 Cowbell

    From Bloomberg:

    “One passage that is crossed out in the draft states:

    “Climate change is speeding up and will seriously damage our common natural environment and severely weaken global economy with implications for international security. We underline that tackling climate change is an imperative not a choice. We firmly agree that resolute and concerted international action is urgently needed.”


    “The European Union has made limiting warming to below 2 degrees Celsius one of its main environmental targets, with steep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions required to achieve it. The U.S. has requested the removal from the draft of a paragraph that states a temperature increase of more than 2 degrees Celsius from before industrialization will result in “largely unmanageable” risks.”


    I read the following recently and am curious what the majority opinion might be as to the EU’s “2C” goal…

    “Climate records from the Antarctic Peninsula region show that annual mean temperatures have risen by nearly 3C during the last 50 years – a far larger rise than seen elsewhere in the Southern Hemisphere.”

    Understanding this may be a localized phenomenon but factoring in positive feedback loops, continued rates of ‘spewage’ and many other issues, would it be fair to say they are dreaming?

    Love this blog BTW – thanks William.

    [The AP definitely has been warming a lot… by “dreaming” do you mean limiting the world to 2 oC? Who knows… -W]


  5. #5 stephan harrison

    Of course, by aiming for 2 degree warming commits us to melting large chunks of Greenland. It’s not even clear whether we could stabilise at that temperature anyway.

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