G8 Demotes Climate Change

by William Yeatman on July 2, 2008

Diplomats from the world’s industrialized countries are lowering expectations for climate change mitigation policy at the upcoming G8 Summit in Japan. A month ago, European officials hoped to put global warming at the top of the agenda at the annual summit, but recent inflation in food and energy costs have relegated climate negotiations to the backburner.


This week, John Ashton, Britain’s top climate envoy, told reporters that, “We should be careful not to expect too much of the conversations” on climate policy. That was echoed by a Japanese official, who said that the summit's focus is likely to shift from climate change to rising prices. And a source involved in preparatory climate policy negotiations in advance of the Summit told Reuters that "The G8 statement will be weak."


It is worth noting that the preferred “solutions” to climate change—a cap-and-trade scheme and a carbon tax—are designed to increase the price of hydrocarbon energy, including gasoline, so that consumers use less and emit less. It is also true that biofuel policies adopted by developing countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have contributed to inflation in the price of food.

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