G8: Make Or Break on Climate Change

Published on IPS, by Ramesh Jaura, July 4, 2008.

Japan is preparing to test its leadership role at the summit meeting of seven western industrial democracies and Russia (G8) Jul. 7-9 in Toyako on the northern island of Hokkaido.

Japan considers the summit meeting “historic”, a senior foreign ministry official said.

For the first time in the course of G8 meetings and their predecessors since 1975, the G8 countries (Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan, Canada and the United States) will hold discussions with as many as 14 heads of state and government from Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America in three ‘outreach’ groups …

… Concretely, in the post-Kyoto framework, Japan wants to move away from 1990 as the base for carbon dioxide (CO2) reductions, agreed in Kyoto.

This is expected to make Japan’s leadership at the summit an extremely challenging task. This is admitted by Japanese officials involved in the G8 Hokkaido summit preparations. “We know it is a make or break issue,” an official told IPS.

Japan’s long-term goal is to achieve a 60-80 percent reduction in emissions from the current level by 2050. The medium-term goal is a 14 percent reduction by 2020 compared to 2005 levels by 2020.

Japan is, in any case, determined to contribute up to 1.2 billion dollars to a new multilateral fund which it is establishing with Britain and the U.S. The fund will assist developing countries in addressing climate change.

Japan is expected to propose an International Partnership for Environment and Energy “to share a global roadmap for innovative technological development looking 30-40 years ahead by having the international community work in unison, to advance technological development.”

The achievement of this partnership is also to be shared with developing countries, says the MOFA background document. (END/2008). (full text).

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Before anyone knew it, G8 summits have become more politically pointed than the United Nations meetings. As the club of the richest and most powerful, they have naturally become a target – increasingly protected – of those fighting globalisation as practised by the mighty. But G8 has become also the G8-plus-five, with China, India, South Africa, Brazil and Mexico now regular and increasingly influential guests from the developing world. Before anyone knew it also, the protests against the eight of the G8 have worked; the agenda is not exclusively rich any more. Development, Africa, economic rights, human rights have all expanded across the conference tables. (about the G8 plus 5-summit, July 7 – 9, in Toyako on the northern island of Hokkaido., Japan).

The G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit.

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