g8 summit: a climate for change or more of the same?

Submitted by turbosprout on Tue, 2007-06-12 21:22

At last week's summit in Heiligendamm the G8 finally agreed to reduce emissions, but by how much and by when, exactly?

The G8 club, leaders of the worlds wealthiest nations, agreed on Thursday to tackle climate change together. Although no binding agreement was made the G8, including the United States, committed to "seriously consider" cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050. Angela Merkel was hoping for a firmer commitment, whilst George Bush managed to resist a mandatory reduction in emissions. Everyone else seemed much obliged that Bush, obviously feeling pressure from the American public, didn't derail the process as usual. Earlier in the week he was mooting a US led climate-change framework outside the auspices of the UN, but it looks like Merkel has pursuaded him not to sideline the UN, hopefully paving the way for more productive climate change negotiations in Bali later this year. At least, to everyone's relief, Bush didn't... treat Merckle to a shoulder rub this time around. [IOL] Spiegel Online [NY Times]

Minister Van Schalkwyk, speaking from the Western Cape's Renewable Energy & Climate Change Summit on Friday, lauded Bush’s concession as a final settlement of the scientific debate about climate change. "..the US's own momentum has now created a situation where they can no longer withdraw from a multilateral forum", he said, refering to the US's scuppering of the Kyoto protocol. We'll just have to see about that. [M&G]

South Africa set to play a larger role in global negotiations on climate change? One of the outcomes of the 2007 G8+5 summit is that SA along with Mexico, Brazil, China and India will meet more frequently with the G8 group of nations, in what is being called the Heiligendamm Process. A permanent forum will be set up for the G8 and so-called O5 to meet under the umbrella of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to achieve tangible results within two years.

Am I sceptical or paranoid or are the priorities of the forum aimed squarely at trade liberalisation, weighing heavily in favour of the industrialised nations (my comments in italics):
* promoting and protecting innovation
(no doubt the west will try to pursuade the O5 nations to adopt US-style patent laws permitting "anything under the sun made by man to be patented" giving multinationals the right to biopiracy, without compensating the country where the genetic resource originates)
* strengthening the freedom of investment by means of an open investment climate
(deregulate previously untapped markets allowing national resources to be privatised, for example privatisation of water resources to multinational consortiums)
* determining joint responsibilities for development, focusing specifically on Africa
(providing developmental aid to further western foreign policy and rewarding political and military partners)
* improve energy efficiency and technology co-operation, with the aim of contributing to reducing CO2 emissions
(okay, perhaps I can't fault this one, although I'm sure western technology will be foisted on developing nations in some way)
[G8 Summit 2007]

And of course what would any G8 summit be without anti-globalisation protesters and the Greenpeace balloon.




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