G8 Summit Talks on Climate Change a Bust

Developing nations refused to agree to a global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction of 50 percent by 2050. The the G5 (Brazil, China, India, Mexico, South Africa) and Egypt met with G8 countries during the summit in L’Aquila, Italy. G8 nations agreed to an 80 percent reduction by 2050, but did not have specific plans for reducing GHG emissions. 

According to a Los Angeles Times article, “G8 stopped well short of pledging to take aggressive action that could curb emissions more quickly — at the cost of higher energy prices and a feared worsening of the global economy.”

Dirk Forrister, who was chairman of the White House climate change task force under President Clinton, said, “It looks like it’s going to be a pretty tough fight [in Copenhagen], based on what happened in these meetings in Italy .”

“This is a huge missed opportunity. With new leadership in the U.S. there was great optimism. It could have been a dramatic turning point,” said Anantha Guruswarmy of Greenpeace.

UN Secretary-General Ban ki-moon criticized the GE leaders. “The policies that they have stated so far are not enough, not sufficient enough… The G8 missed a unique opportunity on climate change,” Ki-moon said.

Developing countries disappointed with G8

If G8 countries develop specific plans to reduce their GHG emissions, developing countries may agree to reduce their emissions. An official told Reuters, “China and India don’t adhere for the time being to the goal of a 50 percent cut by 2050, but there is a willingness to participate later.”

“China’s not going to do anything until the developed countries send a signal that they’re going to do something,” said Michael Oppenheimer, a geoscientist at Princeton University and a participant in the IPCC. 

China’s President Hu Jintao said, “Developed countries should make explicit commitments to continue to take the lead in emissions reductions.”

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said before the G8 summit, “What we are witnessing today is the consequence of over two centuries of industrial activity and high consumption lifestyles in the developed world. They have to bear this historical responsibility.”

“We can not be satisfied with a single long-term objective without losing all credibility,” Brazilian Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto Figuereido Machado said. “We need strong and deep reduction goals for 2020.”

Developing Countries Need Aid

Tearfund, a Christian aid agency, called for developed countries to provide at least $150 billion a year to developing countries with “no strings attached” to help them cope with climate change. 

“Anything less will severely weaken relations between rich and poor nations and trigger a breakdown in trust that will block progress towards a strong and fair climate deal,” Tearfund said.

Paul Cook, Tearfund Advocacy Director said, “What part of the word urgency do G8 leaders not understand? Adequate finance is the sticking point currently deadlocking negotiations and so far the group has failed to put their money where their mouths are.”

Last February The Guardian reported that developing countries received less than 10 percent of the aid promised to them by developed countries to help them adapt to climate change. The richest countries in the world pledged almost $18 billion in aid in the last seven years, but less than $0.9 billion was disbursed to developing countries.

The UN has called for $50 to $70 billion a year in aid for developing countries. Yvo de Boer, head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) said, “Contributions to funds have been disappointingly low and the least developed countries have received very little. Without significant finance you will not get developing country engagement [in negotiations]. Funding is key to unlocking an outcome for the talks.”


LMj Sunshine

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LMj Sunshine

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LMj Sunshine

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Olja Mcbride
Olja Mcbride7 years ago

Like kids in the kindergarten!!! "if you won't do it - I won't do it..." All these summits and conferences and talks of "high officials" only for the show - they don't give (save the very rare few) two hoots for anything else but profits. Until we "ordinary people" don't start making our maximum contribution to lessen all these pollutants (check all the info on "how to go green" with small steps that can easily build up to a substantial amount and impact the change that will turn even officials heads), they will continue spending tax money on expensive meetings and week long conferences and b****sh*** us until this planet dies.My grand ma had a saying:"first clean your own windows and than you may comment at your neighbor's".... So shut up and start cleaning! Time for talking is long past - IT'S TIME TO ACT

Adam C.
Adam C.7 years ago

Sandi, Amanda, and Koo J. are the only people on this list who actually make any sense. The earth is NOT in a cooling period but heating rapidly (the science on this is overwhelming). You CAN'T irrigate "with flat canals" or any other way if there's not enough rain in the right places and the water table gets too low. Governments CAN'T manipulate the weather, period. Overpopulation is caused by poverty, which is caused by social inequity and maldistribution of resources, and specifically by the suppression of *women and girls*--their education and empowerment is the single most important factor in economic and social development and population control. I agree that the elites of the larger developing countries (Brazil, China, India) are not adequately facing the reality of limited nonrenewable resources. But all of them now have big, noisy environmental movements. Actually, as Christian Parenti points out, the development of wind power in China and photovoltaic power in India are the two keys to the survival of the planet, because they are the countries whose greenhouse emissions are rising fastest.

For a long time I have been wondering: why does any discussion of climate change attract so many wingnuts? One reason is the immense propaganda offensive by the fossil fuel lobby. The other is that Americans are the most scientifically illiterate of all developed nations. This is thanks to evangelical Christianity as well as general rampant know-nothingism. Wake up, please!

Amanda R.
Amanda R.7 years ago

Wow, they are seriously misguided if they believe it's even possible to use half as many nonrenewable resources as we're using now past 2050. Aren't they paying attention? They're NONRENEWABLE, and we're quickly depleting them.

Sandi F.
Sandi Fentiman7 years ago

Why is it that some people/countries have to wait until disaster strikes, in anything, before action is fully taken!?!? With GHG/global warming/climate, we are ALL in a crisis period right now. Perhaps increasing speeding fines and adding idling charges/fees would help and get the message across.

Margaret S.
Margaret S.7 years ago

"Last month, the House of Representatives passed a comprehensive climate and energy bill that will lay the groundwork for a national plan to rein in global warming and start cleaning up the U.S. energy system.

But the fight in the Senate is next – and it is going to be tough. We need bold and visionary leadership to push for a strong climate and energy bill. Urge President Obama to play an active role in getting a powerful climate and energy plan through Congress »

The only way to build a sustainable clean energy economy in the U.S. – and curb global warming – is by creating a long-term demand for clean energy technology. But building this demand means that we need to reflect the true cost of global warming pollution through strong cap-and-trade legislation".

If you truly looked at both sides of the 'climate change' story, and what it would mean to all of us, you'd quickly petition against this hoax.
The Earth is in a cooling period. Cycles are normal. Does anyone actually believe that humans can keep the earth temperatures from going beyond a certain point?
Do you know what the proposed regulations to do to the average American?? It would ruin the economy, lose jobs by the thousands and in the end, without China, Germany, India, there would be NO change in the atmosphere. Govt. would control every detail of our lives. EVERY DETAIL. (licences to have a tomato plant in your yard, and much worse.