“Ambitious but nonbinding” = pretty much worthless

by Mike Gaworecki

July 8, 2008

The world “leaders” attending the G8 summit in Japan issued a statement on global warming today committing their nations to doing pretty much nothing. They boldly declared they would half emissions by 2050 but set no binding targets, no interim targets of any kind, and didn’t even set a base year off of which the 50% reduction would be measured.

World leaders embraced for the first time on Tuesday an ambitious but nonbinding goal of slashing greenhouse-gas emissions in half by midcentury to stave off global warming. Unimpressed environmentalists called the effort too slow and too uncertain.

Leaders of some of the world’s richest nations praised the agreement, which endorsed President Bush’s insistence that fast-developing countries like China and India join in the effort. But one environmental critic suggested that by 2050 those leaders would be forgotten and "the world will be cooked."

Details were scant in the statement issued by the Group of Eight. Some could become clearer Wednesday when China, India and six other fast-developing nations sit down with the Group of Eight industrial nations — the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, Germany, Russia, Italy and Canada — to discuss climate change strategies.

The G-8 did not specify a base year for its proposed 50 percent cut, and the actual emissions reductions and the effect on the environment could vary hugely depending on what is eventually decided. Reductions from 2005 levels, for instance, would be far less than from 1990 levels, as in the Kyoto Protocol on global warming.

It would appear the rest of the 8 “leaders” are prepared to follow Bush into hell and high water, whining about India and China all the way and paying no mind to the moral responsibility of the developed world – which created the problem in the first place – to lead on this global issue. They could perhaps amend this statement after Wednesday’s meeting when they meet with China and India and other developing nations, but developing nations are far more worried about providing basic necessities to their people than global warming. If “the world’s richest nations” won’t commit to really addressing this crisis, why should they? It’s disappointing that the European leaders at the summit, most of whose countries have been far more aggressive about global warming than the US, caved to Bush’s obstructionist tactics. The growing global climate crisis will almost surely be looked upon as yet another massive failure by the Bush administration.

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