With G8 Climate Agreement, Congress Must Act

Today’s guest blogger, Annie Petsonk, is International Counsel at Environmental Defense.

The Group of Eight (G8) is an international forum of eight industrialized countries representing the lion’s share of the world’s economy. High on this year’s agenda is global warming, with European countries calling for a mandatory 50 percent cut in global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Recognizing that America must take the lead, the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) has gone even further. This group of 27 leading U.S. companies and environmental groups has urged Congress to enact legislation [PDF] mandating that the U.S. cut emissions by 60 to 80 percent by 2050.

Today the G8 Summit reached an agreement.

The U.S. administration would not agree to a numerical target. It only agreed to "consider seriously the decisions made by the European Union, Canada and Japan" about halving global emissions. However, at the same time, the G8 Summit document [PDF] says:

We are therefore committed to taking strong and early action to tackle climate change in order to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.

The only way to prevent dangerous climate change is to achieve global emission cuts on the scale that the European Union has proposed. Now more than ever, it’s up to Congress to act. As the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, the U.S. must take the lead with mandatory caps on global warming pollution.

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