The German Chancellor and G8 President was convinced and visibly pleased that this was "the most important decision for the coming two years." Many participants had moved their positions quite considerably. The agreement that binding goals on reducing emissions were necessary was "an important signal", said Angela Merkel.
The resolutions adopted by the EU, Japan and Canada form the basis of the agreement reached on climate protection at Heiligendamm. The approach suggested by the United States was added to this, namely of incorporating the biggest greenhouse gas emitters outside the United States, especially China and India.
The environment ministers of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change can now negotiate details of how these goals regarding global reductions are to be achieved. A post-Kyoto Protocol regulation is to be agreed during the Global Climate Change Conference to be held there. The Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. Up until now it was not clear what this was to be based on. Now the successor agreement is to be adopted by 2009 and to contribute to the agreed UN process.
In parallel to the UN process, groups of countries have the possibility of reaching additional agreements on how the common goal is to be achieved. In future the G8 also want to use new financial tools to support climate protection projects in the developing countries, for example the proceeds from the auctioning off of emissions rights. This afternoon the Chancellor said she was pleased about the "coherent time-table".
Joint, but different responsibility
It is also clear that all countries bear joint responsibility for reducing greenhouse gases, but in different ways. The Chancellor highlighted the leading role the Group of 8 had to play. "The industrialised countries must take the first step", she emphasised.
Even though the agreement is not legally binding, Merkel was sure that "no-one can escape this declaration".
The Chancellor felt that it was a great success that all eight of the G8 countries now acknowledged the results of the UN's most recent climate report.
The so-called IPCC Report found that global warming is largely the result of human activity. Only by limiting CO2 emissions will it be possible to stop global warming. In order to avoid wide-ranging consequences, the international experts believe that it is absolutely essential that global warming be limited to 1.5 to 2.5°C.
The Group of 8 industrialised nations recognise the statements and goals in the IPPC Report. "Now we need to work together to get as many countries as possible across the world to undertake to do something," the German Chancellor said.
G8 and the emerging economies: Dialogue institutionalised
In the afternoon the G8 leaders had already agreed to offer the so-called emerging economies a new form of regular dialogue. The so-called outreach countries - Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa - will be taking part in the G8 discussions on Friday.
Photo: REGIERUNGonline / Kühler The G8 leaders on the way to the "family photo"This new co-operation ("Heiligendamm Process") is to send a clear signal for allowing mutual freedom of investment under comparable conditions. Just like the G8 process, this process is also to set the course for giving globalisation a social face.
The planned topics for the Heiligendamm Process are also to be "innovation" and "technology co-operations". The G8 countries are to share their know-how with the emerging economies especially when it comes to energy efficiency. At the same time, agreement is to be reached on more effective international property rights: protection against replicated machines, copied brand products and counterfeit medications.
The topics to be addressed in this dialogue show how closely the issues discussed at this summit are linked to the interests of people across the world: climate protection and energy efficiency on the one hand, and the technology required for that and effective property rights for that technology on the other. Globalisation is here to stay. Now it needs to be actively shaped at the political level. "The G8 is a valuable body in which to do that," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said two weeks ago in a policy statement. The first conference day proved her right.