He may be seen as a lame-duck Prime Minister in his last few months in office, but when Tony Blair closed the World Economic Forum in Davos, he held out hopes for a major breakthrough on a post-Kyoto climate-change accord as his crowning achievement of ten years in office.
Blair said that after recent talks with President George Bush, Brazil’s President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva and Germany’s Angela Merkel, he was confident major progress could be made at the G8 summit in Germany in June, which is expected to be Blair’s final diplomatic engagement as Prime Minister.
Blair said that the key breakthrough necessary was to get the Americans and major developing economies such as India, China and Brazil to agree binding commitments for an accord to take effect when Kyoto – which none of them has signed – ran out in 2012. His hope was that the emissions-reduction targets agreed internationally could eventually go far beyond the ‘stabilisation’ goals of Kyoto, matching Britain’s domestic target of cutting emissions by 60 per cent before 2050.
Blair told delegates that ‘any agreement that does not have binding commitments from America, China and India is not one that can deliver’.
‘The German G8 Presidency gives us an opportunity to agree at least the principles of a new binding international agreement to come into effect when the Kyoto Protocol expires… but one which is more radical than Kyoto and more comprehensive, one which this time includes all the major countries of the world. It is a prize of tantalising significance and I think it is possible,’ Blair said.
Well he is probably desperate for a legacy that includes something else apart from the carnage that is Iraq.