G8 Summit Set to Focus on the Environment
With the 2009 G8 summit edging closer, it is becoming apparent that environmental issues will be a key focus this year.
Recently the Ministers for Environment from the G8 countries met in Rome to discuss the environmental agenda for the three day summit planned for July. Climate change, biodiversity and green economy are all issues which the ministers agreed should be discussed.
Italian Environment Minister Stefania Prestigiacomo said that climate change was set to be the most important topic of the summit. He said there were five clear areas he believed that ugently need global attention and action. Short term, mid term and long term targets will be discussed by participating countries. As will attention to climate change and efforts made to slow down global warming by individual nations. Finance and International Governance to developing nations which relates to climate change was also an important issue, according to Prestigiacomo.
Other ideas that will be brought up include energy efficiency and sources of renewable energy. The protection of ecological infrastructure as well as the effect of agricultural production and transportation will be discussed in detail.
Others were less optimistic about the pre-summit discussions. The Brazilian Environmental minister, Carlos Minc, spoke of mistrust, indicating a point of difference existing between developing countries and the rest of the world. Minc commented that great compromises needed to be made by both sides in order for any progress to be made. The G-8 countries are responsible for 40% of all carbon gas fitting and boast some of the highest per capita carbon emission rate. While countries such as China and Brazil have higher overall emissions, their per capita emission is as low as one fifth of that of countries such as the United States.
Minc proposed a 10% tax on oil company profits during the talks. No comment has been made by any of the G8 countries in response to this proposition. Minc states that such a tax would give developing countries a fair chance to fight climate change.
Oxfam accused the meetings to be suffering from first step syndrome, claiming the G8 countries are all talk and no action. The cost of diminishing eco systems was noted as being far greater than the cost of bailing out companies in the recessed economy.
The countries did agree on a 25 point ‘Syracuse Charter' which would reestablish targets set at the 2002 summit. The charter would focus on protecting biodiversity, through protecting global ecosystems which are currently under threat. The importance of ecosystems to support wildlife, as well as to provide food and clean water to communities was acknowledged. Protecting ecosystems was also noted as a way to prevent climate change.