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No. 118/09 | Berlin, 24.04.2009

State Secretary Machnig: G8 countries must use the crisis for a green recovery of their economies

Economic growth through improved protection of the climate and biological diversity

In the face of the economic crisis, the G8 must live up to its leading role on ecological issues too, now more than ever. Matthias Machnig, State Secretary at the Federal Environment Ministry and head of the German delegation in Syracuse, Italy, stated today: "In the field of environmental protection there is massive potential for economic growth and a low carbon - and thus more environmentally friendly - future. Green investments are the key answer to the economic and climate crisis". Courageous and clear decisions are needed for a strong follow-up agreement to the Kyoto Protocol in Copenhagen. These include a long-term vision for the global reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, ambitious medium-term targets, measures for adaptation to climate change, secure climate financing and technological cooperation with developing countries. Matthias Machnig: "These points of the Bali Action Plan will secure the clear investment conditions that are needed, by industry too. The time of proceeding tactically is over."

State Secretary Machnig considers a clear commitment to be essential. "Science has clearly shown that we will only be able to prevent the worst impacts of climate change if we limit global warming to below 2°C. It is our responsibility to do everything in our power to achieve this". A prerequisite for this is that global CO2 emissions peak by 2020 at the latest and that all countries play their part in reaching this target.

The meeting of the G8 environment ministers (Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy, USA, Canada, Russia, Japan) was also attended by the ministers of the major newly industrialising countries China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa. Other participants included Indonesia, Australia, Egypt, South Korea, Denmark, as host of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, and the Czech Republic and Sweden as the current and next EU Presidencies. The outcome of the meeting will serve as preparation for the G8 summit of heads of state and government, which will be held from 8 to 10 July in the city of L'Aquila, which suffered badly during the recent earthquake. The focal points of talks were the development towards a low carbon society necessitated by climate change, the path to a successful conclusion of a post-2012 agreement in Copenhagen, the conservation of biological diversity and the impacts of environmental influences on children's health.

In the negotiations on biodiversity the German delegation pushed for the inclusion of substantial messages reflecting the key topics of the German Presidency of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in the "Siracusa Carta". As a result, it was agreed for the first time in a G8 framework to conclude the negotiations on an international regime on fair access to biological resources and their utilisation (access and benefit sharing, ABS) by 2010. State Secretary Machnig commented: "In international biodiversity policy we need targets that are scientifically founded and verifiable. The economic value of nature's manifold services must be clearly highlighted. As in the field of climate protection, there should be an international, independent scientific body for policy advice, to be established by 2010, the international year of biodiversity."

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