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G8 Summit Roundup: Climate Progress Hastens

cooking-the-worldThe G8 Summit in Italy has resulted in a flurry of developments on climate change, including a pledge to cut global emissions 50 percent by 2050, a goal that before the meeting seemed unattainable.

While G8 members — the U.S., Japan, Germany, France, the U.K., Italy, Canada and Russia — agreed to cut their own emissions 80 percent by 2050, much of the developing world is not hopping aboard, AP reports. The 50 percent global cut will come from a combination of cuts across the board, leaning heavily on G8 nation commitments to make up for slack in poorer nations.

Developing nations seem to be waiting for industrialized nations to say they will provide incentives to prop up carbon cutting initiatives elsewhere, said Guy Caruso, senior adviser for the energy and national security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington, D.C., think tank.

Indeed, the G8 took wording out of its declaration that had promised $400 million in funding to help poor countries convert to a low-carbon economy, reports Bloomberg. The G8 also removed language contained in prior draft documents that called for emissions to peak by 2020.

Additionally, the rest of the world is waiting for rich nations to commit to mid-term carbon cuts by 2020 or 2025, a consensus that has not yet been reached.

Angered by the lack of progress on this front, some nations such as China and India have decided against committing to numerical targets July 9, as they had previously indicated, WSJonline reports.

3.6 degrees of separation

The rich and the poor nations did reach agreement on one topic. The world must do all it can to keep the average global temperature from rising 2 degrees celsius (or 3.6 degrees fahrenheit), AP reports. Allowing the world to warm any further could destabilize global ecosystems beyond the point of return, according to the United Nations’ chief panel on climate change.

You are part of the G8, right?

Despite signing the commitment to reduce greenhouse gases 80 percent by 2050, Russia will not be able to meet the target, Reuters reports.

Early exit for China

Chinese President Hu Jintao left the meetings July 8, before having a chance for meaningful dialogue with President Barack Obama or other world leaders. He returned to China to deal with riots in western provinces, reports WSJonline.

The lack of Chinese presence will make it difficult to forge a true world consensus, as it is generally agreed that the U.S. and China – the two biggest emitters – must be in accord before the world will follow suit.

To cap and trade, or not to cap and trade?

The cap and trade agenda has developed largely as a result of progress in Europe, the early adopter of the system.

There is some worry in European circles that if the U.S. and China somehow agree to a plan that does not have cap and trade at its center, that the trading system will be marginalized, reports the New York Times Greeninc blog. If China will not agree to a numerical target, then the subject of global cap and trade becomes nearly moot.

Yet at least Sweden, which holds the rotating chair in the European Union, is confident that the U.S. wants to link carbon trading markets between the U.S. and the EU, as well as possibly other nations like Australia.

“I had a discussion with President Obama on the U.S. cap and trade system and would like to link it up with ours (the EU), Australia, possibly others, as part of a global carbon trading scheme,” Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said on Wednesday after talks with Obama, reports Reuters.


In addition to your run of the mill environmentalists-streaking-naked kind of protest, this time, members of Oxfam dressed up as leaders of the G8, poised around a simulated boiling cauldron that held the earth (see photo above). To make their point, the Oxfam characters added CO2 emissions to the recipe. Here’s some coverage of the protest. Here’s a link to Oxfam’s photo gallery of the protest.

On to Copenhagen

With the global climate talks coming to a head this December in Copenhagen, the G8 must take the lead in putting forth a framework for tackling climate change, said former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is campaigning for greater environmental awareness, CNN reports.

“Let the Clean Economy Begin.”

Business leaders are eager for the world to agree to a climate solution.

Nineteen multinational companies – such as Johnson & Johnson, Nike, Tetra Pak, Nokia and HP – have partnered with the World Wildlife Institute in a campaign encouraging governments and policy-makers to “Let The Clean Economy Begin.”

The WWF said this new Climate Saver campaign will be pushed in a variety of marketing channels leading up to the Copenhagen talks.

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4 thoughts on “G8 Summit Roundup: Climate Progress Hastens

  1. I had the chance to environmental experts talk at the Commonwealth Club a few weeks ago, and one of them made a really interesting point. Countries like India and China not only worry about their environmental impact, but often times are more worried about their economic and social development, and unfortunately those two notions sometime become mutually exclusive. It’s definitely a thorny issue, but I suppose my point is that I can’t completely fault India or China for not committing, even if in the grand scheme of things, the message it sends is not that great.


    Russian agencies, quoting the government’s press service, said Putin treated Obama to black caviar with sour cream, smoked beluga with pancakes and tea made in the traditional Russian samovar, a big coal-fired kettle.



    IUCN classifies the beluga as Endangered. It is a protected species listed in appendix III of the Bern Convention and its trade is restricted under CITES appendix II. The Mediterranean population is strongly protected under appendix II of the Bern Convention, prohibiting any intentional killing of these fish.

    The United States Fish and Wildlife Service has banned imports of Beluga Caviar and other beluga products from the Caspian Sea since October 6, 2005.

  3. Well, there is no doubt that emission reduction could be much simpler – and without cap and trade!

    Sufficient first phase 2020/2030 emission reduction is achieved by acting on ELECTRICITY generation (coal, gas) and TRANSPORT (mainly automobiles) alone, since these 2 sectors typically (as in the USA) account for 80% of greenhouse gas emissions.

    The focus on electricity and transport gives several advantages:

    1. Local environmental benefit from less pollution of sulphur and all else that’s in the emissions, regardless of the less certain or immediate global benefit from CO2 reduction.

    2. Electricity supply alternatives which together with improved grid distribution gives better competition and keeps down electricity bills for consumers.

    3. Transport alternatives (using electricity, hydrogen and other energy sources), which give variety of choice and competition advantages for consumers, additionally reducing the dependency on oil imports.

    4. No trade problems: Unlike Cap and Trade, which involves cement, steel and other industries having to face imports from unregulated countries, the here suggested electricity and transport changes are not just more limited, but also largely local. Since there is little competition between say utility companies internationally, “best practice” results can be compared and shared.

    Funding and Impact
    Equity and long term loan finance can be used: Long term industrial loans from financial institutions, particularly if federal/state guaranteed, give low yearly interest repayments and lessen the effect on electricity bills or transport cost.

    Compare with
    today’s all-encompassing Cap and Trade (emission trading) suggestions, with unpredictability, expense, and needless disruption from normal business practice on one hand, or unnecessary profiteering from free allowance handouts with little actual emission reduction on the other hand – together with extensive -and unnecessary- regulation on what people can or can’t buy and use.

    Understanding why proposed Cap and Trade is bad, in USA and elsewhere
    Basic Idea — Offsets — Tree Planting — Manufacture Shift — Fair Trade — Surreal Market — Real Market — Allowances: Auctions + Hand-Outs — Allowance Trading — Companies: Business Stability + Business Cost — In Conclusion

    The Way Forward
    Introduction — Funding and Impact —No Energy Efficiency Regulation — A New Electric World
    Electricity Generation — Distribution
    Transport Power Generation — Regulation — Taxation

  4. I would like to point out that the study by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and global insurance company Allianz SE was blatantly manipulated by cooking up numbers to lie about the effectiveness of nuclear energy in combating the climate change. See the study page 14 down right:

    “WWF does not consider nuclear power as a viable policy option [..] The indicators emissions per capita, emissions per GDP and CO2/kWh are adjusted as if the generation of electricity from nuclear power had produced 350 gCO2/kWh (emission factor for natural gas).”

    In another words: Due to our ideological bias towards nuclear energy, we invent arbitrary numbers to miss-represent reality.

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