The main climate issue for the hosting Japanese and the European members is the upgrading of the commitment made at last years meeting in Germany.
In Germany the G8 agreed to “consider seriously” the halving of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This year the 6 members from outside North America want a full commitment to that target.
As we are well aware in Canada, Harper and Baird, have been using Bush’s talking points declaring that no climate agreement will be reached at the G8 without the larger polluters, China and India at the table. Bush reiterated those talking points at his welcome presser.
Bush, backed by Canada, has argued that the G8 is not the right forum because it does not include commitments by the developing countries.However, Japan has invited the leaders of eight other major economies including China and India for the climate change talks with the G8 on Wednesday.
Bush informed reporters that he would be a "constructive" participant on Wednesday, but added “I am also realistic enough to tell you that if China and India don't share the same aspiration that we're not going to solve the problem."
So it is quite possible that on Wednesday 14 of the 16 largest economies in the world will agree to halving their greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Unfortunately for Bush and Harper, both China and India agreed that they were “ready to move” on climate change last December in Bali, so the rhetoric that they are currently using “is a bit out of date”, commented one Oxfam spokesperson.
And Canada's reputation will further deteriorate under Harper's leadership, with its continuing acquiescence to failed neocon ideologies, and lack of progressive, independent policies.
References AFP here and here. Summit photos here.
PS: The photographs above are from the opening meeting held with each country. I thought it was interesting how large a contingent Bush had in comparison to Harper and the fact that the photographer didn't wait for Baird to get fully seated before he took the picture.