Saturday, July 12, 2008

G8: We Met,We Talked, We Did Nothing

This week the G8 summit was hosted by Japan. The G8 includes the leaders of the world's biggest polluters: Russia; France; Germany; Italy; Japan; Russia; the United Kingdom; and the United States.

High on their agenda was climate change, and the reduction of greenhouse gases that contribute to it. That was driven, in part, by the sudden large increase in the price of crude oil. In July 2007, the price was about US$75 /barrel. In July 2008, it is just over US$140 / barrel, an increase of more than 85% in 1 year! (see chart)

In real terms it is almost the same price as during the oil crisis in 1979-80.

They listened to the opinions on climate change of other "non-G8", countries, including Australia. Their responses to climate change, from their joint Statement included:

  • "we urge oil producing countries to increase production"
  • "we ... encourage all countries to enhance (oil) refinery capacity"
  • "We ask relevant national authorities to examine the functioning of commodity
    futures markets and to take appropriate measures" - it's all the market's fault!! ?
  • "We are convinced that urgent and concerted action is needed and accept our responsibility to show leadership in tackling climate change."
    and they
  • "note that market mechanisms, including emission trading and tax incentives, have the potential to deliver economic incentives ... "
Their proposed action now: Nothing, although they have a "vision" of a 50% reduction in greenhouse gases in 2050. This inaction is driven by the recognition that it is right that something should be done, but we're not doing it as a majority. China and India would not agree to it, and the others, led by US President (& oil company owner) George W Bush, decided to do nothing. The politics is dirty, and the world will continue to be so, because of the leaders of Russia; France; Germany; Italy; Japan; Russia; the United Kingdom; and the United States.

Real leaders of the world would have stood up and said: "It is right to implement policies to reduce greenhouse gases. WE will do it." They didn't, and we must question their leadership.