Kids say the darndest things

July 15, 2009

The G8 summit in Italy showcased a real sense of urgency to tackle climate change. There was a call for “strict and reasonable guidelines on GHG emissions” and a “revised framework to ensure that promises were kept”. Clean energy commitments with international cooperation and joint research  for improving efficiency of exisiting renewable energy options was promoted. Energy efficiency with subsidies and labelling for green tech were advocated. Unfortunately, this high level of commitment, cooperation and foresight was not voiced by political representatives of the G8 countries but by their 16 year old youth representatives who convened the J8 (Junior 8 ) summit in Rome.

The real G8 leaders had nothing really new to add. All we got was a conservative Declaration that reaffirms pre existing positions. This suggests that they are; 1) leaving a lot of room for manouvering in Copenhagen or 2) think that they can get away with making any sort of commitment, however insubstantial. Some examples;

1. They agreed to a 2°C limit on temperature rise from pre-industrial levels. Too little, too late.

2. They agreed to push for an 80% reduction in GHG emissions by 2050. Not enough really. No midterm (2020) commitments though, making developing countries all the more reluctant to sign on to emissions reductions commitments around that time.

3. Recognised that halting deforestation and degradation is a vital component of emissions mitigation. Nothing new here.

4. Agreed to create a Global Partnership for clean carbon technology and doubling investment by 2015 in green tech.

5. Considered climate financing through matched funding and/or creation of a Green Fund.

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