G8 promise to halve greenhouse gas emissions
Friday, 11 July 2008

The promise of the Group of Eight most powerful countries to halve the world's greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 glosses over some of the most terrifying realities of climate change . At the G8 summit in Hokkaido on Tuesday, the rich western nations may have sought emissions cuts, but US president George W Bush has also indicated that he will not be willing to accept binding cuts unless developing nations China and India  the emergent elite of the greenhouse gas emitters' league  also sign up for such cuts. The G8 leaders instead set a timeframe that is far too wide and no interim target, for their pledge to have real political value. The US and the countries of Europe are largely responsible for the build-up of greenhouse gases in the earth's atmosphere because they have been through a process of unfettered industrialization which reserved little care or regard for the environment. Now the US and its allies are protecting their destructive commercial interests by skipping attempts for an international consensus, by demanding that developing countries must also accept cuts. There is no confusion that this is a tactic that the US  the world's worst emitter  has successfully used till now to undermine the Kyoto Protocol which it is yet to sign. On the other hand, China and India  both developing countries who together account for over 32 per cent of the world's carbon emissions  possibly have the same end in mind when they refuse to accept even small emissions cuts. A carbon build-up in the atmosphere is nationality-neutral in its destructive effects and no matter whether it is the US or India which contributes to global warming, Bangladesh, for example, will see more floods and tidal surges, more heat and water stress, and increased desertification, not to mention falling crop yields and increased morbidity of a wide range of diseases. India and China often make the case that they must also be allowed to develop as the UK or the US did before emissions caps are placed. Bangladeshis demand, along with millions of citizens from the least developed countries is that their right to survive be placed over that of India's and China's.

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