The Global View

G8 statement falls short of green groups’ expectations

Much criticism has flowed in the direction of the G8 following the statement released today on how the 16 leading developed and developing economies are going to tackle climate change.

The WWF’s Global Climate Initiative has labelled the statement “pretty pathetic”. But what the statement really shows is how difficult it is to get an international agreement on anything in just 3 days of talks, not a failure of collective will on the need to tackle climate change.  The opening paragraph of the statement recognises that while each of the major economies of the world has a role to play in tackling climate change, some have more or a responsibility to do so and some are more able to do so than others.

While environmental groups may, quite understandably, be frustrated by a perceived lack of progress, it is better that emerging countries like China, Brazil and Korea are sitting around the same table with them than not.  It is also vital that the more developed nations are able to share emerging and innovative climate change technologies with the developing economies, particularly in the field of carbon capture and storage, which the statement recognises.

That no definite agreements have been announced and that no new binding targets for greenhouse gas reductions have been agreed is disappointing, but anyone who was expecting such a conference to provide specific numerical targets and agreed actions was being optimistic to say the least.