April 17, 2008 / 9:27 AM / in 11 years

FACTBOX - Paris talks on global warming

(Reuters) - Paris is hosting a meeting of 17 top national emitters of greenhouse gases in a U.S.-backed scheme to fight global warming and guarantee energy security while promoting economic growth.

Here are some frequent questions about the “Major Economies Meeting”:

WHOSE IDEA IS IT?

U.S. President George W. Bush, long criticised by his allies for doing too little to combat climate change, announced in May 2007 that he planned a series of climate meetings among major emitters before he steps down in January 2009. Pressure for action also came from the U.N. Climate Panel, which said in February 2007 that it was at least 90 percent sure that human activities, led by burning fossil fuels, were stoking warming.

WHICH ARE THE MAJOR ECONOMIES?

Countries taking part are the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Britain, Japan, China, Canada, India, Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Australia, Indonesia and South Africa. The European Commission, current European Union president Slovenia and the United Nations will also attend. The major economies account for 80 percent of world greenhouse gas emissions, topped by the United States and China.

WHAT DOES BUSH WANT THEM TO DO?

Under Bush’s plan, the countries will “by the end of 2008, agree on a post-2012 framework that could include a long-term global goal, nationally defined mid-term goals and strategies and sector-based approaches for improving energy security and reducing greenhouse gas emissions”.

WHAT HAVE MEETINGS ACHIEVED SO FAR?

Not much. A first round of talks was held in Washington in September and a second in Hawaii in January. Delegates include environment ministers, their deputies or senior officials.

DOES IT LINK TO U.N. CLIMATE TALKS?

Bush says that the U.S.-led meetings will contribute to a U.N. plan to work out, by the end of 2009, a new treaty to succeed the U.N.’s Kyoto Protocol.

Kyoto binds 37 rich nations to cut emissions by at least 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12 — the United States is isolated among its allies in opposing Kyoto, arguing that it would cost too much and wrongly omits 2012 targets for developing nations. Some of Bush’s allies worry that Bush’s plan is a distraction from the U.N. track.

(For Reuters latest environment blogs click on:

blogs.reuters.com/environment/ )

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