Winners and losers at G8 emissions' exam

The G8 Climate Scorecards 2008 praise UK but blame US

While the G8 summit is taking place in Hokkaido, Japan, WWF reminds the industrialized nations to make a public account of their efforts about one of the main issues on the agenda.

The report commissioned by WWF, titled G8 Climate Scorecards 2008, adopts quantitative indicators such as emissions trends from 1990 and progress toward each country's emissions target set by the Kyoto Protocol. Three are the areas under examination: energy efficiency, renewable energy and development of carbon markets. The report doesn’t forget the energy policies of the emerging countries like China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa.

The official ranking is: United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, Canada, United States.

Dr. Richard Moss, vice president for climate change at WWF has played down on the US position, saying that it is not too late for the current administration to focus on energy efficiency and R&D funding oriented to new, clean, low carbon energy technologies, considered a key factor to improve the economy. These are two fronts, according to Moss, where the US have lagged behind, but the solution could be really offered in this report. However, there have been remarkable advances in the US emission reduction target: last year, President George W. Bush signed a law legislation that will require vehicles sold in the U.S. to be more fuel efficient and ordered federal agencies to improve the energy efficiency of their facilities. Congress has created new programs to promote the development of low carbon energy options and brought new life into the climate change legislation debate, while the two candidates for presidency already support national legislation change.

In the ranking there are some case histories: the United Kingdom, the winner, will reach its Kyoto target due to a transition from coal to gas in the 1990s. Same stategy adopted by Russia, which, instead, since 1999 has not managed to curb emissions through suitable policies. France, despite being an industrialized country, presents relatively low emissions partially because of nuclear energy. Quite similar emission rate for the industrialized Japan that, besides nuclear works, is keen on energy efficiency. Germany has got the highest score of the G8 countries on renewable energy while the US, that have not ratified the Kyoto protocol, are the country with the highest per capita emissions rate.



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