News / Environment
Friday, July 11, 2008
Hokkaido Summit Japan 2008 - Sustainability
Image: © Hokkaido Summit Japan

G8 Agrees 50% Reduction In Emissions By 2050 - Without Action Plans?

Planet sustainability was high on the agenda as the Leaders from the world's major economies met in Japan this week for the G8 (Group Of Eight) Hokkaido Summit. Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda did an excellent job chairing the Summit and also trying to steer the major G8 economies (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America) towards meaningful combined global pollution reduction targets and plans.

In the end, Fukuda was able to announce at his press conference on Wednesday that a common view had been reached "to seek to adopt as a global target the goal of at least a 50% reduction of global emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) by 2050". Prime Minister Fukuda also indicated that this was the first serious meeting that had been held between the G8 Leaders that had allowed each to look each other in the eyes and have serious discussions about tackling Climate Change.

Indian Prime Minister Manmahon Singh and Chinese President Hu Jintao joined the G-8 Leaders Stephen Harper (Canada), Nicolas Sarkozy (France), Angela Merkel (Germany), Silvio Berlusconi (Italy), Yasuo Fukuda (Japan), Dmitry Medvedev (Russia) and George Bush (United States Of America) in an Outreach Session meeting the G8 had with developing countries. Both China and India took a hard stance against cutting back their accelerating pollution, with China's Hu stating that their per capita emissions were relatively low and that China's economic growth should not be curtailed at the expense of pollution reduction targets.

Many concerned groups stated that 2050 was too far away in the future, and that what was needed were plans outlining the global actions by 2010, 2015 and 2020.. A UN systematic process needs to be created that brings all countries into a framework of cooperation. Some believe the real solution to sustainability requires at least a 30% global reduction in GHG's from today's levels by 2020, a 50% reduction by 2035 and an 80% reduction by 2050.

The level of 80% corresponds to an estimate of the level of emissions where GHG global pollution levels will actually start to fall. This is estimated from historic graphs of the rise of global CO2 emissions between 1900 and today, and also assumes that mankind will replace the lost global trees and plants that have been destroyed since 1900. Reductions must be based on a percentage of the current emissions by each country, without exceptions, for there to be success.

The Hokkaido Summit made some progress with an increase in the political will of the G8 to tackle pollution, but collectively for the sake of mankind, the combined efforts of all of the world leaders appeared insignificant against the ever-increasing global CO2 emissions.

The outcome of the Hokkaido Summit scored mankind in general with an overall disposition towards short-term economic greed rather than survivability. There was insufficient concern for the future generations expressed by the leadership of some countries, and the collective teamwork and urgency required amongst all to reduce global warming was nowhere near what it needed to be.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) believes that unless pollution is reduced substantially through all measures possible over the next ten years, no amount of short-term wealth will create an environment capable of sustaining the human race. It is believed that the break-up of the Antarctic glacial ice and the melting of Northern Polar ice due to rising global temperatures is a far more significant event than some people think. In reality everything humanly possible needs to be done to stop Antarctica from melting.

The loss of global biodiversity is also a great concern because restoring it significantly supports a reduction in resultant global warming. The current worldwide loss of trees, plants, birds, and ocean marine life requires a significant reversal. Biodiversity needs to probably return to somewhere near the year 1900 levels; probably the level the Planet requires to support life in continuity.

It could take 200 years or more to restore global biodiversity, and the world needs long term-organic restoration plans for heavily affected polluted or over-influenced regions. There is much work to do for everyone, but with international cooperation, ingenuity, economic design, and the harnessing of the positive from the human spirit, the challenges will be overcome.

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