Thursday, 7 June 2007

Surprise G8 compromise

At last G8 leaders have reached an agreement on climate change. Only the US had differing views from the other powers on global warming.

According to an extract from the agreed text published on the G8 website, the leaders agreed to take "strong and early" action.

"Taking into account the scientific knowledge as represented in the recent IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] reports, global greenhouse gas emissions must stop rising, followed by substantial global emission reductions," the text says.

The American view seemed to switch between "Human-caused global warming isn't happening" and "Oh, that global warming — we don't want to do anything about it". The latter view was recently held by President Bush in his usual policy format of baseless rhetoric.

The disagreement over how to take action against climate change has been an issue since America fought the proposed climate change initiatives earlier last month. In addition to the usual issues, the strained relations between Russia and the West — including the US's hope for missile defense shields in Europe, and Russia's retaliation to such an idea — is also going to be a major factor at the G8 summit.

The Group of Eight developed nations, or G8, includes Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada, France, Germany, and Japan. The summit in its 33rd year is hosted this year by Germany and lasts from 6 June to 8 June. It is one of the major yearly world meetings. This will be the last summit for Britain's Tony Blair (leaving office on 27 June) and Russia's Vladimir Putin. It is the first for newcomers Shinzo Abe of Japan and Nicolas Sarkozy of France. Angela Merkel, the leader of Germany, plays host and tries to mediate hot issues like global warming; Prodi of Italy tries to please his fellow G8 members while keeping his fragile center-left coalition together; George W. Bush isn't well liked and along with Tony Blair will throw light jabs at the provocative Putin. The EU is also represented there. See also the G8 website.

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