G8 leaders discuss the economy, climate change

July 8th, 2008 - 11:22 am ICT by IANS  

Toyako (Japan), July 8 (DPA) Group of Eight (G8) leaders turned to the environment and surging oil and food prices Tuesday amid concerns that high commodity prices may further slowdown the global economy. The second day of the summit in Toyako, in northern Japan, saw heads of state and governments of the world’s seven richest economies and Russia hold a closed-doors working session in the exclusive Hotel Windsor.

US President George W. Bush was seated between the meeting’s host, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

Leaked drafts of the summit’s final conclusion show that while there is growing alarm over spiralling food and oil prices, there is little the G8 can do to solve the emergency.

On oil, for instance, there is a split between France, Germany and Italy, who say short run speculation is primarily to blame, and the rest, who argue that the problem is more structural.

Recipes under consideration include making oil markets more transparent and urging oil producers to raise supply.

Meanwhile, the US is pushing for the G8 to promote nuclear energy as a means of both reducing the world’s dependancy on oil and of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, the summit’s draft conclusions state that many countries perceive nuclear power generation as a key to reducing their reliance on fossil fuel.

The emphasis on nuclear energy will be resisted by Germany, where the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel has just decided to phase out its nuclear reactors by 2021.

G8 leaders were being asked to commit themselves to long-term targets for greenhouse gas emissions, but few expected them to come up with medium-term binding cuts.

Monday, the leaders faced growing calls to increase their aid to the world’s poorest countries as they met their counterparts from seven African nations.

The G8 comprises Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the US and Russia.

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