President Barack Obama has announced the launch of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, which will facilitate candid dialogue among key developed and developing countries regarding efforts to advance clean energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The forum is meant to generate the political leadership necessary to achieve a successful outcome at the United Nations (U.N.) climate change negotiations to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, this December. The United States is currently participating in a preliminary round of climate change talks in Bonn, Germany, and by the time of the Copenhagen meeting, the U.N. hopes to establish the framework for an international climate change agreement that will succeed the Kyoto Protocol. See details on the climate negotiations on the Web site of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.
For the new forum, President Obama has invited the leaders of 16 major economies and the Secretary General of the United Nations to designate representatives that will participate in a preparatory session at the U.S. Department of State on April 27-28 in Washington, D.C. This and other preparatory sessions will culminate in a Major Economies Forum Leaders’ meeting, which Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has agreed to host in La Maddalena, Italy, in July. In addition to the United States, the major economies include Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Due to their role in the climate change negotiations, Denmark and the U.N. have also been invited to participate in the forum. See the White House press release.