As world leaders assemble in Japan at the G8 summit, to discuss climate change, the major world emergencies today of oil prices, food shortage and even Zimbabwe will jostle for places on the priority list for discussion and might even succeed in displacing the major summit theme, but at the end of the day these current crises will only emphasize more why we need to sort out our climate change issues, as the whole world.
Considering that the major industrial nations are the major reasons for climate change, their millions of industries and cars spewing into the atmosphere greenhouse gases that are puncturing the ozone layer, to the detriment of third world countries who produce a minimal amount of the damage to environment and suffer the brunt, we wait to see if the cat and mouse game, over cutting green house emissions will take a turn for the better, in the mountain resort of Lake Toyako.
Japan’s Prime Minister Yauso Fukuda, has set the standard for the summit.
“Global warming is a huge challenge, and humanity has no time to lose,” Fukuda said, “The international community must urgently strengthen its efforts to resolve this issue.”
In order to make any impact on climate change, nations like the United States and China have to make a commitment to cut they greenhouse emissions, and by implication their use of fossil fuels, and that is where oil and big oil issues come in.
Since, President Bush took office in 2000, the climate change agenda that was began by Bill Clinton, and has somehow been extended by erstwhile vice president Al Gore, in channels other than government, the climate change was pushed back down the list of policy priorities, a clear preference for a man behind whom big oil lobbies have funded his campaign, and whose family and political right hand men have their hands dipped in oil business.
We wait to see, if at the dusk of his presidency, he will seek to put the record straight, and make a few concessions n climate change. The Kyoto protocol on cutting of greenhouse gases, which is the standard for climate change, has been avoided stealthily by the countries that are biggest greenhouse emitters, for so long that the protocol is fast approaching its end, without the projected success.
“We need a new commitment beyond the Kyoto Protocol which expires in 2012, and the new framework is to be agreed by the end of 2008 at Copenhagen,” said Yurika Ayukawa, vice chair of the summit.
“To make this happen, the G8 needs to send a strong signal since responsible countries have caused the global warming by emitting so much greenhouse gases in the last 100 years.”
“My hope is that the G8 summit would lead to an agreement amongst G8 countries on the direction of their emission reductions by 2020. So perhaps agreeing that their efforts should be guided by a certain range of emissions reductions,” Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), told journalists in Geneva.
One of the sticking points for climate change is substitution of fossil fuels with more efficient fuels, and coming in the middle of the storm raised by bio fuels, for countries that are pushing its use, is like a stroke of good luck.
They will want to emphasize why we must move fast away from dependency of fossil fuels, not because, they are suddenly environmentally conscious but because bio fuels is the new big business.
They will struggle to justify that bio-fuels have a very limited role in the current food crisis, and can play a big role in reducing dependency of oil.
President Bush has also thrown the gauntlet to fellow countries that have been accused of stifling the Kyoto protocol because of the unfair advantage these countries would gain in world trade if only the US signed, and vice versa.
“The United States and Japan really do lead the world in research when it comes to clean technologies. I also am realistic enough to tell you that if China and India don’t share that same aspiration, that we’re not going to solve the problem.”
Mr Bush, at a joint press conference with the host in Japan, commented. Again, we wait to see if this is a genuine change of tact for the US if these are the words of man eager to appease everyone as he approaches his exit from the world stage.
On the back of multiple, world crises, G8 leaders will struggle to maintain focus on the main issue of the day, and this will not be helped by the fact that the summit outreach has uncharacteristically invited, (Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania and major greenhouse gas emitters China and India), which is ideally good news to Africa, but it will not be good news until we see practicable results from the talks.
Invited to take part in the expanded dialogue on climate change to be held July 9, the last day of the summit, are Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea.
The issues of food shortage and the oil crisis will have to be addressed, with specific attention paid to the short-term measure to ease the negative impacts as well as long-term measures to tackle these issues and prevent a repeat.
Otherwise, from the experience of the political charade that marred the UN Food Summit in Rome, the lessons are that bringing together a crowd of representatives from many countries under the excuse of political inclusiveness, can have the negative impact of too many opinions to expressed over too little a time, with no one in particular to stand the middle ground and ensure that something concrete comes out of the meeting.
However, as Bernd Pfaffenbach, German Chancellor Merkel’s point man for next week’s G8 summit put it, “Our position is that the G8 must show a certain leadership on this issue. That means respecting what we agreed on at last year’s summit in Germany -- that there’s a common yet differentiated reasonability of the whole world and that we as the world’s leading industrialized nations must do more than the developing nations in the short and mid-term.”
In Africa, we await to see for the positive and workable solutions that will come out of Japan, at the end of the week.