Spiralling oil prices should not distract G8 leaders from efforts to draw up a global deal to tackle climate change, a report urged today.
Climate Strategies, an international climate policy network based at Cambridge University in England, said knee-jerk attempts to deal with the higher prices, for example by a shift to new more carbon intensive sources of oil and coal-to-liquid technology, could drive up emissions.
The report’s author Professor Michael Grubb, chief economist at the UK's Carbon Trust, warned G8 leaders meeting in Japan next week that they must find responses to rising oil prices that accelerated progress on tackling climate change, rather than undermining it.
He called for measures such as a global network of low carbon technology centres to help developing countries shift from carbon intensive activities to a green economy, and said more funding is needed from the G8 to help poor nations adapt to the changing climate.
The report also calls for international emissions caps on aviation and shipping, which Prof Grubb said accounted for almost 10% of global oil demand and put unsustainable pressure on supplies.
G8 leaders should agree that the UN negotiations on climate change in Copenhagen next year should result in legally binding emissions reductions commitments, he added.
He said developed countries should commit to fixed national emissions targets, while major developing countries should be supported by G8 commitments on technology and funding to commit to legally-binding and appropriate targets for improving energy efficiency and carbon intensity.
Prof Grubb said without action by the G8 leaders on climate change, an international agreement to replace the Kyoto protocol is unlikely to be achieved in Copenhagen.
“The Toyako summit marks the formal culmination of the three year dialogue in climate change that was launched by Tony Blair at the Gleneagles summit.
“Its central outcome must ensure that responses to global oil prices also accelerate, rather than undermine, progress on climate change. And that will take a lot more than mid-century targets,” he warned.
Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust, said: “Now is the time to for world leaders to act if we are to stand any realistic chance of achieving a long term international agreement on climate change in the next 18 months.
“Strong action on climate change represents a huge business and commercial opportunity and should be embraced at G8.”