In a final communique from the summit in Northern Ireland this week, the leaders summarised the issues discussed, surprising many with a section on climate change.

In a U-turn on the announced agenda, the G8 leaders expressed their commitment to tackling climate change, calling it one of the foremost challenges for “our future economic growth and well-being”.

Yesterday, green groups expressed their anger at the absence of climate change as a topic of discussion during this week’s meetings in Northern Ireland.

Leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, and the US arrived in Lough Erne in Northern Ireland to achieve change on the three issues which are “critical for growth, prosperity and economic development across the world” – trade, tax and transparency.

In the final communique, however, the leaders “note with grave concern” the gap between current country pledges to tackle climate change and what is needed, and that they will work towards increasing mitigation ambition in the period to 2020.

It said that they recognise climate change as a contributing factor in increased economic and security risks globally.

It also stated that they have agreed to consider means to better respond to the climate change challenge and its associated risks, recalling that international climate policy and sustainable economic development are mutually reinforcing.

“In the UNFCCC we will work to ensure that a new protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all parties is adopted by 2015, to come into effect and be implemented from 2020,” the statement said.

Leigh Stringer

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie