Edinburgh/London, 3 July 2005 – The leaders of the world’s richest nations must not allow US President George Bush and the “axis of environmental evil” that supports him, to water down the final G8 statement on tackling climate change, Friends of the Earth International said today.

Press Release
Sunday 3 July 2005

The call follows media speculation that Bush may sign up to a “vague” statement agreeing that climate change is a reality, but don’t want any concrete measures to tackle it.
Friends of the Earth International says that a weak communique on climate change will be a backward step in efforts to tackle the problem, and give George Bush and his friends in the oil industry an undeserved diplomatic coup. It called on the G8 leaders to issue a majority communique rather than cave in to pressure from the US administration.
Pressure is growing in the US for action to tackle climate change: Many Republican senators now accept the reality of human-induced global warming,while several states have decided to cut emissions, and more than 150 city mayors have adopted Kyoto-style emissions reduction targets. And writing in a UK national paper today, the Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger says “The debate is over. We know the science. We see the threat posed by changes in our climate. And we know the time for action is now” and calls on “Governments everywhere” to tackle carbon emissions [1].
Friends of the Earth International vice chair Tony Juniper said: “The leaders of the world’s richest nations must stand firm in their resolve to combat climate change. They must not allow President Bush, and the axis of environmental evil that supports him, to water down their final communique on climate. President Bush is becoming increasingly isolated over his refusal to face up to his global responsibilities, internationally and domestically.
“A statement on climate change backed up by a commitment to tough targets from seven G8 members is far better than a weak version to keep the Bush administration happy. It’s time to get tough on climate change, the biggest threat the planet faces.”
Friends of the Earth wants to see commitments from the G8 leaders in the following areas:
Global average temperatures must not be allowed to rise by more than two degrees centigrade higher than pre-industrial levels.
An agreement by G8 nations for specific, substantial and timetabled cuts in their domestic emissions of greenhouse gases.
An agreement that offers innovative and substantial financing mechanisms to increase and diversify the energy mix. This must include more renewable energy and greater efforts towards energy efficiency.
Urgent assistance is needed for those developing countries already facing the devastating effects of climate change.
A Friends of the Earth briefing on G8 and climate change can be found at: http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_releases/g8_summit_media_briefing_28062005.html

For more information contact:
In Scotland
Catherine Pearce, International Climate campaigner, + 44 (0)7811283641 (m)
Helen Burley, Press Officer, + 44 (0) 7778 069 930 (m)
Lang Banks, Press Officer, 0131 554 9977/ + 44 (0) 7813 766759 (m)
In London
Neil Verlander, Press Office, + 44(0)2075661649/ + 44(0)7712843209 (m)

[1] Article is online at http://comment.independent.co.uk/commentators/article296377.ece