Yes, the Head of Greenpeace tells us what needs to happen:
The eight countries now forming the group represent between them the bulk of the world\’s economic activity; they also own most of the world\’s firepower and consume most of the world\’s resources.
That\’s a really scary thought now, isn\’t it? That the eight countries which make most of the things in the world consume most of the things in the world used to make things? OOEEEOOOW into the Twilight Zone we go!
If the G8 wants to be taken seriously it should stop debating what the goal is for 2050 and introduce a moratorium on all new coal fired power stations in their countries. Coal burning is the biggest single cause of CO2 pollution and the greatest threat to the climate. We can live without coal in the developed world and we have better options. They should launch an Apollo programme for renewable energy and start a campaign against energy wastage to secure genuinely clean energy supplies for the coming decades. They must act decisively to finally stop the mass deforestation that on its own accounts for a fifth of the world\’s greenhouse gas emissions.
John laddie: the discussion is not about whether things need to be done (yes, OK, some of us are still discussing whether, but governments are not). It\’s about how we do these things. There\’s a little more to changing the entire economy of the planet than some politicians issuing orders. It\’s necessary to craft the incentives to get humans on the ground to actually change their behaviour.
Just as an example, acting decisively to stop mass deforestation? Well, yes, there are some useful things that could be done by politicians: they could get rid of the insane rules they themselves developed about biofuels which are leading to Indonesia being ploughed up to produce palm oil I suppose.
But how are you going to stop that starving Brazilian peasant from moving another mile into the forest and burning down a patch to grow runty corn for a year or two, to repeat the process in three years time when the soil is exhausted? How are the G8 politicians going to deal with that?
How, exactly, are we to change peoples\’ behaviour? OpEds in the Guardian ain\’t gonna do it you know: there\’s not much of a market for the paper in Amazonia.