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G8 « Previous | |Next »
July 10, 2008

The G8 doesn't do much in terms of governing the world economy does it? They just get together once in a while to have a bit of a chat and then issue vague comments on the issues they find most pressing.

G808.jpg Steve Bell

Sure, after years of US intransigence, President George Bush finally signed up to a G8 statement vowing to "consider and adopt" a target of at least a 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. Such an agreement was described as "major progress". Major progress to 'consider and adopt'? Why the need for consider? Is this really a major step on from last year when the G8 agreed to "seriously consider" a goal of halving emissions by mid-century. I guess 'adopt' is the big new word that signifies a step forward.

It all sounds like an "elaborate smokescreen" to try to fool the world that the G8 are showing international leadership on global warming, doesn't it.The reality is that the global economy more or less governs itself, with the G8 only pretending they govern. They then use cigar smoke and champagne bubbles to disguise this pretense. The reality is the G8’s impotence to deal with energy, climate change and financial crisis.

As an editorial in the Financial Times acidly observes:

For proof that the G8 has outlived its usefulness, one need look no further than the inability of the world’s richest democracies to forge an agreed global strategy for tackling climate change. The refusal by China and India to endorse its proposed cuts in carbon dioxide emissions renders this week’s G8 summit in Japan pointless. Any notion a club of eight nations could run the world – never plausible – is now so discredited as to call into question the value of all its declarations... The G8’s problem is that it has become so divided and poorly led that its annual summits have deteriorated into little more than photo opportunities and exercises in drafting bland communiqués.

Surely it is time to bring in India and China? How can you discuss climate change without them? Rudd's contribution on this was that rich countries adopt binding targets to cut emissions. Poor countries accept something called "measurable and verifiable actions" to achieve the same result. What does "measurable and verifiable actions" actually mean for countries that reject targets, are caught up in an economic boom to get on with here, and are trying to lift a whole generation out of poverty.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:28 AM | | Comments (8)


And abit of a sumptuous meal

And abit of a chomp

I guess it's not surprising more wasn't made of it, given the state of our media, but Bush acknowledging there's a problem and at least mouthing cooperation is a major thing. For how long were Australia and the US the only developed nations officially pretending there was nothing wrong?

It's not likely to result in any action coming from George Halliburton Bush, but it's something I never thought I'd see.

it is still only a 'consider and adopt'.

Could you realistically expect anything more than consider and adopt from the child king?

Still, some of the best use of carbon reducing technology is happening in California, so Bush is not the be all and end all and neither is whatever is said on behalf of the nation at some summit. It would be good if some of our own states decided to go it alone in a similar direction.

True, but that still leaves the global economy ungoverned.

"IT'S been 13 long months since the leaders of the G8 gathered for their annual talkfest. Just in case you've forgotten what was agreed in Heiligendamm, here's a reminder: "We noted," the G8 said, "that the world economy is in good condition and growth is more evenly distributed across regions." This was June 8, 2007, two months to the day before the entire global financial system came to a shuddering halt. If you like your humour black, it's rather funny isn't it?

But wait, it gets better. The communique expressed confidence that there would be "a smooth adjustment of global imbalances which should take place in the context of sustained and robust economic growth".

If the G8 was doing its job properly, this week's communique would be rather shorter than usual. It would say the world is about to be battered by a triple crunch of a credit-fuelled financial crisis, galloping climate change and - even in the absence of speculation - a long-term increase in energy prices caused by the imminence of peak oil."

I agree, G8 is pointless. They don't even have a 'guess this year's silly shirt' contest.

And the notion that other nations have to wait for an invitation and then meekly wait upon the self-appointed masters of the universe for an audience is more than a little undemocratic.

I wonder what wonders the UN might have achieved if all the resources devoted to alternative global institutions had instead been single-mindedly invested in making the UN a truly effective organisation.