As the G8 Summit in Heiligendamm, Germany get under way, the chances of the leading industrialized nations agreeing to set specific goals for curbing greenhouse gas emissions seems unlikely.
While there are concerns that “cap and trade” programs are not the best or only approach in dealing with global warming, neither, in my view, is vague talk of voluntary measures and technology fixes. All of these approaches are likely needed to arrive at a comprehensive and effective solutions to climate change.
What is important, I believe, is setting goals – targets seems such a bad word to Bush and those that support his policies – for a specific reduction in atmospheric CO2 concentration and temperature increase in this century. Nothing really gets accomplished without setting goals, and that is what we need from our leaders.
Even though George Bush has supposedly acknowledged that something needs to be done to address global warming, his past actions do not engender much confidence that he has now had a fundamental change of heart on the issue. Instead of setting a firm goal for reducing carbon emission and halting its concentration at 450 to 550 parts per million to keep warming to about 2 degrees Celsius this century, we have little more than a vague notion from Bush that there could be a problem and the answer lies in technology, much of which is unproven or questionable as a real solution. But any solution that entails realistic goals and a comprehensive plan to meet those goals remains sorely lacking.
So the realistic agenda for G8 summit in terms of climate change is not to set goals for the international community to rally behind, but maybe – just maybe – that a goal can be reached to agree that goals should be set. And the wheels keep spinning…
Not that I expected much more than that.