World leaders meet in Maryland to discuss climate change mitigationMay 24, 2012
G8 agrees to take action on climate change
Last week, G8 leaders met at Camp David, Maryland, to discuss various issues. Among these issues was climate change and what could be done to mitigate or prevent its impact. It is a rare event for world leaders to agree on any issue, particularly those concerning the environment and climate change. During last week’s meeting, however, G8 leaders agreed, for the first time, to take aggressive action on climate change and air pollution. The G8 also chose specific targets that they believe will contribute to the mitigation of climate change.
Three pollutants targeted by world leaders
The first target is methane gas, which is considered one of the most harmful greenhouse gases. Though methane is not as plentiful as CO2, G8 leaders still consider its presence in the atmosphere harmful to the environment. The second target is black carbon, commonly known as soot. Soot is a byproduct of the incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons. Soot is considered a hazardous air pollutant that has been linked to serious health problems if people are exposed to it for prolonged periods of time. The third target is hydrofluorocarbons, another type of gaseous emission that is contributing to climate change.
Agreement could add momentum to future environmental policy
Though the G8 has not yet made their plans concerning these targets clear, it is apparent that the agreement means that world leaders are beginning to take the matter of climate change more seriously. One possible plan of attack may be to implement carbon taxes and other financial incentives designed to encourage large companies to abandon fossil-fuels. The notion of cap-and-trade may be somewhat controversial, but could serve well as a form of mitigation against climate change.
Agreement may have implications for future conferences
The Rio+20 conference looms on the horizon and the agreement amongst the G8 may hold positive implications for the event. The conference will bring together the world’s leaders and thousands of participants from governments, the private sector, and various non-profit organizations to discuss ways to reduce poverty and promote environmental protection. With the recent agreement amongst the G8, the Rio+20 conference is expected to be exciting in terms of environmental policy.