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Little hope for climate change from G8 summit July 28, 2008

Posted by bdoza in BANGLADESH, CLIMATE, Climate Change.
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The 34th G8 summit took place in Tōyako on the northern island of Hokkaidō, Japan from July 7–9, 2008.
France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Russia and European Commission are the regular members of the G8 forum of the most industrialised countries. 16 non-G8 countries were also invited which include China, India and Brazil as wellas reprentatives of 5 international institutions including World Bank.

The issues discussed in the forum are climate change, food crisis, fuel price, achievments towards MDG, Non-proliferation, North Korea and Iran, Assistance to Africa, fight against terrorism etc.

Climate Change was notthe first issue to be discussed. But it took the centre point as the discussion progressed.After much discussion and hesitation the forum adopt the global target to reduce the greenhouse gas emission at least 50% by the year 2050.

They also agreed to implement mid-term quantitative national targets, to launch an international initiative for innovative technology development, and also to launch climate investment funds to support developing countries.

Climate Change target pronouced by G8 was not acclaimed by any. The target is vague and much below the expectiation or necessity of the hour. The bolder decision could not be taken mainly due to US position not to commit to a greater target. The base line demarcation is also not clear. It was expected that the base line should be of 1990. But the chairman of the form in a reply clarifies that it would be the current situation, a vague term which indicates either the state of 2005 or 2008.One remarks that it would be a mokery of climate change if they explain in this way.

NGOs including CAFOD, ActionAid, Christian Aid, Oxfam and Save the Children all argue that this is not credible, because there is no agreed baseline year, no agreement on when emissions will peak and begin to decline and no mid-term target on emissions reductions.
Regarding $6 billion fund which marked as ‘Climate Investment Fund’, Christian Aid points out two problems. Firstly, the fund will be housed at the World Bank, which has a track record of imposing damaging economic policies on poor countries and is backing a large portfolio of greenhouse gas emitting projects around the world. Secondly, this is not new money – the money will come out of aid budgets, at a time when aid budgets are decreasing.

Washington blocked proposals on interim emissions targets and benchmarks. Environmentalists expressed disappointment in the lack of interim targets and contended the long-term goal did little more than “restate last year’s G8 commitment.”

Developing nations refused to sign on to the G8’s long-term goal and the major emitters could agree on no strong alternative. Several nations, including China, India, Mexico, and Brazil, had an alternate proposal for developed nations to cut emissions by 25 to 40 percent by 2020, and in exchange developing nations would agree to cuts of 80 percent to 95 percent by 2050.

The G8 has a huge historical responsibility for causing climate change. Altogether, they contributed 42.5% of global CO2 emissions from energy use between 1992 and 2004 and more than 60% since 1850. Their cumulative per capita emissions since 1850 result in almost five times the world average. Whilst the G8 leaders are meeting the Arctic has surpassed all predictions for the speed and scale of arctic summer ice loss. Most sea ice scientists agree that we are either at or past the tipping point of the arctic summer sea ice and talk of an ice free summer arctic by 2013. This massive iconic change in the earth’s system increasingly signals that the future consequences for humanity and especially the world’s poor are potentially devastating.

Bangladesh needed G8 to act on climate change but the ultimate outcome is disappointing.