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In the run-up to the G8 summit in Camp David, Maryland, the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, in partnership with the national science academies of the G8 member states and seven other science academies, has equipped the world leaders with a set of recommendations on addressing some of the planet’s most pressing challenges. The partners’ three statements on the topics of water and energy, greenhouse gas reduction and ways of building resilience to natural and technological disasters will today be handed over to the participating governments for them to consult during their negotiations on 18 and 19 May 2012.
The three statements spell out the fundamental role that science and research could play in finding solutions to global dilemmas. The 15 national science academies that bring together outstanding scientists recommend that governments in the G8 states systematically organise global solution-finding processes and better incorporate the global scientific community in those processes.
In their “Energy and Water Linkage” statement, the science academies point out that governments around the world are not giving enough attention to the interaction between these two resources. This has not only caused inefficient planning and implementation, it could also lead to dangerous shortages of water and energy in many parts of the world. The academies recommend policies that develop the two resources in concert and thus protect them both.
The statement on “Building Resilience to Disasters of Natural and Technological Origin” refers to the fact that the costs and losses incurred by such disasters have been extraordinarily high in recent years. Also, developments following the events in Fukushima have been a reminder that even highly developed countries like Japan can be devastated by natural and technological disasters, with effects being felt far into the future. The academies therefore consider it vital to systematically monitor and continuously re-analyse risks, to devise quicker warning and response systems that employ the very latest information technologies, to improve public health systems and building standards, and to invest in development aid in these areas.
The statement on “Improving Knowledge of Emissions and Sinks of Greenhouse Gases” calls on politicians to foster the development of more precise, standardised methods for improved assessment of sources and for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The academies see this as a step towards preparing a viable international climate treaty. The science academies recommend steps to fill key gaps in knowledge and requiring comparable annual reports from all states. These could form the basis of further successful measures for protecting the climate.
Every year since the G8 heads of state and government met in Gleneagles in 2005, the national academies in those countries – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK and the United States – have worked together to produce joint, scientifically founded statements on topics of relevance to the global community. The statements are intended to assist the governments during their negotiations at the annual G8 summits. This year’s statements were prepared during a conference of academy representatives in Washington on 27 and 28 February 2012. The national academies of Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Morocco and South Africa participated alongside the academies from the G8 countries. At these meetings, Germany is always represented by the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.
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