print-only banner
The White House Skip Main Navigation
In Focus
News by Date
Federal Facts
West Wing

 Home > News & Policies > July 2008

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 9, 2008

Fact Sheet: The Major Economies Leaders Meeting
Making Progress Toward A Future International Climate Change Agreement

     Fact sheet G8 Summit 2008

Today, 17 leaders of the Major Economies held an unprecedented summit in Toyako, Japan, to advance shared objectives of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, contribute to ongoing negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and identify actions to be taken immediately. Leaders of Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, Indonesia, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States issued a Declaration that:

  • Acknowledges that the global challenges of climate change, energy security, and sustainable development are interlinked;
  • Recognizes the leadership role of all Major Economies – developed and developing – in combating climate change;
  • Highlights the value and contribution of the Major Economies Meetings in supporting the UNFCCC, building confidence, and elaborating on areas of shared understanding.

The leaders' declaration emphasizes "ambitious, realistic, and achievable" steps, stating that:

  • It would be desirable for all countries to adopt an ambitious long-term global goal for greenhouse gas emissions reduction that assures growth and prosperity, recognizing that achieving such a goal depends on significant advances in technology;
  • Developed Major Economies will take actions in the mid-term to halt the growth of greenhouse gas emissions and achieve absolute emission reductions, and developing major economies will take actions in the mid-term to achieve a deviation from business-as-usual emissions;
  • Mid-term goals, commitments, and actions of all Major Economies are to be reflected in the agreed outcome of the UNFCCC negotiations to be concluded in December 2009; and
  • Actions to reduce net emissions from deforestation and forest degradation can contribute to greenhouse gas stabilization.

Leaders agreed to take near-term actions, including:

  • Working together on technology cooperation and cutting emissions in specific economic sectors;
  • Directing trade officials responsible for the WTO Doha negotiations to advance with urgency their discussions on climate-related issues, with an emphasis on eliminating trade barriers to the spread of clean energy technologies;
  • Accelerating technology development, transfer, financing, capacity building and measurement methodologies to support mitigation and adaptation efforts; and
  • Improving energy efficiency and promoting new, climate-beneficial actions under the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer.

Leaders agreed to continue to work together to promote the success of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in December 2009, when the UN negotiations launched in December 2007 in Bali, Indonesia, are set to conclude.


Since President Bush launched the Major Economies process in May 2007 there has been growing international agreement that, to be effective, a global framework will require commitments from all Major Economies – both industrialized and emerging – to take actions to reduce emissions. There is now broad acknowledgement that all Major Economies must contribute to solving the problem, recognizing that what steps each Major Economy takes will differ according to its national circumstances.

  • Each of the Major Economies is developing and implementing national goals and plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. America's national plan is a comprehensive blend of mandates, incentives, public-private partnerships, and technology programs to reduce emissions by increased investment in clean and efficient energy technologies.
  • Sectoral approaches can support national climate change efforts, as demonstrated by the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (APP). The APP facilitates investment in clean technologies and accelerates the sharing of energy efficient practices among seven of the Major Economies in the region – with a particular focus on China and India.

The U.S. Is Taking Action To Confront Climate Change And Strengthen America's Energy Security

The most recent UN data shows that, since President Bush took office, U.S. results in reducing net greenhouse gas emissions were second best among the Major Economies.

In April, President Bush announced a new national goal to stop the growth in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. This new goal marks a major step forward in America's ongoing efforts to address climate change. As we continue to fully implement strong new laws, provide appropriate incentives, and adhere to the principles the President outlined for future programs, the United States will continue on an ambitious new track for greenhouse gas reductions. The growth in emissions will slow over the next decade, stop by 2025, and begin to reverse thereafter, so long as technology continues to advance. Our landmark actions will prevent billions of metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere.

Record Funding for Climate-Related Science, Technology, and Incentive Programs: Since 2001, the President has devoted approximately $45 billion for climate-related science, technology, observations, international assistance, and tax incentive programs. Annual funding for technology R&D currently exceeds $4 billion. The United States has $42.5 billion in loan guarantee authority available for technologies that avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gases or air pollutants, including nuclear, large-scale renewables, and clean coal technologies. Our farmers now can compete for billions of dollars in conservation incentives to sequester carbon dioxide.

Improving Fuel Economy, Use of Renewable Fuels, and Energy Efficiency: Congress passed and the President signed last December energy legislation that responds to the President's "Twenty in Ten" challenge to improve vehicle fuel economy and increase alternative fuels. The Renewable Fuels Standard will increase the use of renewable fuels by more than 500 percent – requiring fuel producers to supply at least 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel in the year 2022. The Vehicle Fuel Economy Mandate specifies a national mandatory fuel economy standard of 35 miles per gallon by 2020, which will save billions of gallons of fuel and increase efficiency by 40 percent. Additionally, the legislation establishes mandatory programs for efficiency of lighting, appliances, and Federal government operations.

Broad Range of Domestic Partnerships and Incentives: The President launched a comprehensive portfolio of domestic initiatives to develop new technologies through dozens of voluntary, incentive-based, and mandatory programs. These programs include Climate VISION, Climate Leaders, SmartWay Transportation Program, and the Hydrogen Fuel Initiative. The United States is a world leader in advancing a broad range of technology needs, including fusion, hydrogen, nuclear, plug-in vehicles, batteries, biofuels, low-carbon coal power generation, large-scale renewable power, and electricity transmission.

# # #