Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is urging world leaders to focus on realistic short-term goals for climate change, saying they offer the best chance of achieving long-term progress.
In Japan to launch a report called “Breaking the Climate Deadlock” ahead of next month’s G8 summit, Blair told FRANCE 24 it is time to move from “the realm of idealism… and into the realm of realism.”
The report, issued by the nonprofit Climate Group, outlines a plan to “achieve a world-wide goal on climate change by 2050.” Blair said that in order for the goal to become a reality, it is necessary “to focus on getting the best realistic deal possible next year in the UN negotiations at the end of 2009, and then set out some practical, sensible steps in areas like energy efficiency, developing new technologies, and deforestation in the short term, so that the long-term goal becomes realistic too.”
Blair said the key to progress on climate change is forging an agreement between the world’s major economies. “There is no climate deal unless you have America in on it on the one side and China in on it on the other,” he said.
The leaders of the G8 industrialised nations -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States – will gather in Japan July 7-9.
Blair is also the special envoy to the Middle East for the Quartet (the United States, Russia, the UN, and the EU), charged with helping the Palestinian Authority rebuild its economy. He said the key element for improved economic conditions is “freedom of movement for the Palestinians,” and that that will happen only if Israel is certain “that their security concerns are taken care of.”
To watch the entire interview, click “Play Video” above.