July 4, 2008 / 12:17 AM / in 9 years

G8 seen failing to keep climate change vows

BERLIN (Reuters) - None of the G8 countries have come close to fulfilling their pledges to fight climate change with the United States, Canada and Russia lagging especially far behind, a study published on Thursday found.

<p>Officials walk past the main lobby of The Windsor Hotel, the venue of the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit in Toyako, on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido July 2, 2008. G8 leaders could well cobble together some agreement next week on goals to cut greenhouse gas emissions, but bolder progress in climate change talks will probably have to wait until a new U.S president takes office REUTERS/Issei Kato</p>

The “G8 Climate Scorecards,” compiled by environmental group WWF and Allianz, said Britain, France and Germany -- at the top of the rankings -- had failed abysmally to implement measures to back the goal of cutting carbon dioxide emissions.

“We’re not going to be able to fathom what the world may be like in 20 years if we aren’t able to reduce emissions,” said Regine Guenther, head of climate policy at the WWF in Germany.

“None of the eight leading industrial nations have taken sufficient measures needed to be considered in line with the target to limit a worldwide increase in temperatures to 2 degrees centigrade,” said Niklas Hoehne, the author of the study done by ECOFYS research group for WWF and Allianz.

They said leaders of the Group of Eight countries -- which have emitted 62 percent of the CO2 in atmosphere -- have talked about cutting emissions but largely failed to follow through.

The G8 leaders from the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Canada and Russia will meet in the Japanese resort of Hokkaido for their annual summit next week, where climate change is due to be a top issue on their agenda.

At last year’s summit in Germany they agreed to seriously consider a goal of halving global emissions by 2050.

The scorecard offers grim reading, showing all eight countries have failed to match their words with deeds.

U.S., CANADA, RUSSIA FAIL TEST

The study examined the climate performance by federal governments in implementing measures to reduce their emissions. Also included are performances in energy efficiency, renewables and carbon market development.

The G8 Climate scorecard ranked the United States, Canada and Russia at the bottom, saying they had “failed the test.”

“The United States scores the worst of all G8 countries, being the highest emitter with the highest per capita emissions and an increasing trend in total emissions,” the report said, giving the U.S. “red” ratings in 11 of the 12 categories.

“Canada is second with a very high per capita emissions and a steadily increasing trend in total emissions,” it said. Ottawa complained that parts of the report were inaccurate.

“The WWF said Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions trends are going up and that emissions have increased. Yet for the last two years on record, Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions have in fact gone down,” said Garry Keller, chief spokesman for Environment Minister John Baird.

The WWF said Russia ranked “a bit better due to declining emissions in the early 1990s ... but since 1999 emissions are increasing steadily and there is hardly any policy in place to curb emissions.”

The study also gave Italy and Japan “red” overall ratings. Emissions from both are well above their Kyoto Protocol targets and there are few national measures in place to cut emissions.

Britain, France and Germany were put at the top of the scorecard in that order. But all were given only a “yellow” overall rating, falling short of “green” for top scores.

Britain was lauded for keeping emissions below Kyoto targets but criticized for deriving only a small share of its power from renewable sources. France was also praised for getting its emissions under the Kyoto target.

Germany, which sees itself as a leader in the fight against climate change, was ranked third. It was faulted for high emissions from coal-powered plants and transport.

Additional reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa; editing by Frank McGurty

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