The Group of Eight: G8
The G8, otherwise known as the Group of Eight, is an assembly of world leaders who meet annually to discuss global issues. Each year, the G8 holds a Leaders’ Summit, in which Heads of State and Government of member countries meet to discuss and attempt to reconcile global issues. Although the G8 is best known for its annual summits, it works throughout the year to tackle important contemporary topics such as the economy and climate change. The G8 discusses and creates global policies. However, adherence to these policies is not obligatory, and other countries can decide whether or not to obey.
This year’s G8 Summit (June 17 – 18) in Northern Ireland is being presided by David Cameron (Prime Minister of the UK). “Today, our greatest challenge is to restore strong and sustainable growth to the world economy,” says Cameron. He goes on to say that “the voices defending special interests shout loudest. But it makes no sense to exclude vital parts of the economy. Everything must be on the table.” The UK’s G8 Agenda—Increasing Trade, Fairer Taxes and Greater Transparency—is all about global economic growth and ongoing development, resource extraction, resource-rich countries, pipeline construction and lower taxation (that usually benefits the wealthy).
Of course, not “everything is on the table” Mr. Cameron. You have left out perhaps the most critical challenge facing all of humanity, the most fundamental existentialist issue of our times. It’s called Climate Change or Global Warming. You Sir, like the other G8 leaders, have your head in the sand. Hence the title of this post—G8, Wake the F8#Up. All of you are intelligent human beings capable of sound reasoning and analytical thought. You have the power to make the right decisions but inevitably, you do not. Your focus is more on the next election rather that doing what is right.
I cannot accept how the G8 (and your larger cousin, the G20) simply continue to sell out to big business. By skirting around issues that urgently scream for solutions, you Sir, and your colleagues, are perceived as morally inept and shamefully irresponsible. The following statement which refers to “the greatest challenge of our times” illustrates extreme shortsightedness, lack of prudence and quite simply, being out of touch with reality.
By promoting more trade, fairer taxes and greater transparency, Britain and America can once again lead the way in meeting the greatest challenge of our time: securing the growth and stability on which the prosperity of the whole world depends. David Cameron, Prime Minister of the UK
The G8 Wake-up Call
The global temperature is rising. Freak weather events are multiplying. Climate change is happening.
At the same time, we continue to rely on polluting fossil fuels for our electricity. What is worse Governments are heavily subsidizing fossil fuels!
For the sake of our health and our wallets, we must make a transition to renewable, clean energy sources like wind energy. Only then will we be able to end our addiction to polluting fossil fuels and finally battle climate change.
The 2009 G20 summit pledged to ‘phase out and rationalize over the medium term inefficient fossil fuel subsidies while providing targeted support for the poorest.’
“Fossil fuel subsidies are the public enemy number one to sustainable energy development,” says Faith Birol of the International Energy Agency. And yet, dirty fossil fuels get six times more of our tax monies than clean renewables.
You can send a strong message to your country’s leader or to the G8 Summit (or both) to appeal to their sense of obligation to the future generations. Choose a G8 Leader and Send a Wake-UP Call or follow G8WAKE-UP.
The issue of Global Warming and how to tackle it takes on special meaning in view of the breakdown in talks at the Bonn Conference that is currently happening in Germany. It seems that a vital track of the discussions have collapsed after participants were unable to resolve a disagreement is the agenda going forward. It appears that politics have overtaken the process once again.
Tom Zeller’s blog article in HuffPost Green summarizes the latest “descent into chaos” in Bonn:
Virtually no one should be surprised to learn that climate talks currently underway in Bonn, Germany—the latest venue for the decades-old and largely fruitless pursuit of international agreement on global warming action—are descending into chaos. This time around, Russia, along with Ukraine and Belarus, are facing off with other nations and effectively blocking movement on negotiations fundamental to forward progress — including how to provide financial assistance for poorer nations grappling with the worst impacts of a warming planet.
President Obama declared that “we will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.” But he has failed to have the courage of his convictions. “These are powerful words, but it has been 142 days since the Inauguration, and we haven’t seen any new initiatives from the President that reflect his rhetoric or even begin to tap the power of the presidency,” says Frances Beinecke in her Blog article of June 11, 2013.
Other Posts re G8 and G20 Climate Change failures
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Ed: Kate Bartolotta
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