To Cut or Not to Cut? That's the G8 Question..


It's that time of year again, and with the official G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit finally getting under way here in Japan next week, the question on everybody's lips is, "will the G8 see a formal commitment to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions cuts?"

The G8 Summit is the source of no end of speculation on this policy or that policy, but with news items like such as MSNBC's piece on the possibility of an ice-free arctic by the end of this summer, climate change is looming large on everyone's lips, and their keyboards.

We go on the hunt to see what the latest news and views are from around the world.While the official G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit website has surprisingly little real information in English related to GHG emissions, there is a little presentation about the wonders of nuclear energy. Not suprisingly, the powers that be still seem to be a little out of touch with the opinions of the little people. However, they do have a "Carbon Offsetter'S-MART" page on the site which allows those visiting the Summit to offset their carbon emissions.

The local Japan Times rag seems to have gone quiet on the G8 as the big day approaches, although they did have an interesting (but unrelated piece) on the successful crossing from Hawaii to Japan in a wave-powered boat by Japanese adventurer, Kenichi Horie. Digging a little deeper we found a call from Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to the G8 leaders to agree on cuts of 25 to 40 percent or more below 1990 levels at the Summit and another from the "G8 Youths" for a strict carbon cap-and-trade system to be introduced.

The Mainichi Daily News had a few pictures of anti-G8 activism and news about the Sapporo Declaration from the first G8 University Summit related to climate change. "The declaration states that universities should play a new role in making environmental policies, society and academia the driving forces behind efforts to achieve a sustainable society," according to the Mainichi.

Moving away from home, PointCarbon and CrunchGear are pessimistic about the likelihood of an official agreement on serious cuts, although YubaNet is a little more optimistic that the Germans, at least, will take some real action.

The Guardian is typically cynical (although not wrongly so) and takes the view that something could be done, but probably won't.

Of course, the crowd here at Treehugger are getting in their two cents here and there, and Grist and Environmental Leader are not ones to miss the fun either.

We look forward to reporting some good results from the Summit, but are afraid that it may just be more hot air.

So here is a call from us to all of you, get onto the phone, or send an email, and start putting some pressure onto the Great 8 to actually live up to their name and do something great, like saving the planet from catastrophic climate change.

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